EU budget 2021-2027: Commission calls on leaders to set out a roadmap towards an autumn agreement

budget

Press conference by Günther Oettinger, Member of the EC in charge of Digital Economy and Society on the roadmap towards an agreement on the Union’s long-term budget for 2021-2027.European Union, 2019 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Ahead of the European Council meeting on 20 and 21 June, the European Commission is calling on leaders to make a push in advancing the negotiations on the EU’s next long-term budget 2021-2027 so that an agreement can be reached by autumn. An agreement is within reach – but much work remains too while a lot is at stake.

In a Communication published yesterday, the Commission looks at what has been achieved so far and identifies the main open issues that need to be addressed, paving the way for a swift agreement. Time is running and delays to the future EU budget are costly. Not having an agreement in time would affect students, farmers and researchers, as well as everybody else who benefits from the EU budget. The EU’s current long-term budget 2014-2020 was adopted six months too late having negative consequences formany citizens, in our Member States and beyond (see Annex).

To avoid a similar scenario, the Commission calls yesterday on the European Council to set out a roadmap to achieving an agreement on the EU’s long-term budget in the autumn and to invite the Council to take the work forward as a matter of priority.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “A lot of work has already been done in moving forward the Commission’s proposal for the EU’s future long-term budget. I congratulate the European Parliament and Member States in the Council for their hard work and commitment. Now is the time to move up a gear. With the highest turnout in European elections for 20 years and a campaign more focused on European issues than ever before, 2019 is a year of renewal for our Union. Agreeing on our future budget is not a number-crunching exercise but it is about matching our ambitions and priorities with the right budgetary means. The stakes are high but with courage and political will, there is a chance to reach agreement by autumn.”

European Commissioner in charge of Budget and Human Resources, Günther H. Oettinger said: “Thanks to the good work of three consecutive Council Presidencies, we have already reached partial agreement on 12 sectoral files, while negotiations can start on further 16. Most importantly, an agreement on the overall framework is needed. And we need to reach it as quickly as possible – in the name of our students, farmers and researchers, among many others who count on the EU budget.”

In May and June 2018, the Commission put forward a proposal for a new and modern long-term budget, tightly geared to the Union’s priorities, including the legislative proposals for the 37 sectoral programmes. On that basis, a lot of work has already been done in both the European Parliament and the Council. Progress has been made on the overall framework; many of the sectoral proposals have been at least partially closed.

During the negotiations, many of the elements that the European Commission initially proposed have already received broad support from the European Parliament and the Council. These include:

  • the strong focus on European added value;
  • the streamlined and more transparent structure of the future budget;
  • the reduction in the number of programmes and the creation of new integrated programmes in areas like investing in people, the single market, strategic investments and rights and values;
  • the increased focus on synergies between instruments;
  • the simplification of funding rules;
  • the greater flexibility to ensure rapid reaction in a fast-changing world.

Progress is also being made in the discussions of the following proposals:

  • The budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness for the euro area;
  • The new mechanism to ensure that generalised deficiencies in the rule of law do not put at risk the EU budget;
  • The Commission’s proposals to modernise the revenue side of the EU budget.

At the same time, key political issues – and the financial aspects in particular – are still up for discussion. The time to address them is now. The June European Council should launch a new phase of political negotiations with an increasing focus on financial and other strategic issues. This is the only way to ensure that a timely agreement can be reached and that the new programmes are up and running by 1 January 2021.

Delivering the future budget on time means concrete results for all Europeans: It would create tens of thousands of research jobs already in 2021 and many more in the wider economy, it would make sure that over 100,000 Cohesion Policy projects start on time, enable 1,000,000 young people to benefit from an Erasmus exchange and allow 40,000 young people to engage in solidarity action across Europe in 2021. It would support start-ups and small and medium-sized companies to realise their investments, would significantly step up defence investments and capabilities and would help protecting the Union’s borders against trafficking, smuggling and fraud.

Completing work on the future framework and the spending programmes in time to allow their full implementation by 1 January 2021 will be challenging, but it is achievable – provided that the European Council leads the way.

Background

On 2 May 2018, the Commission put forward a proposal for a modern, balanced and fair budget to deliver on Europe’s priorities as set out by Leaders in Bratislava in 2016 and in Rome in 2017. That proposal was immediately followed by legislative proposals for the 37 sectoral programmes forming part of the future long-term budget. On that solid basis, the Commission has worked hand in hand with the Bulgarian, Austrian and Romanian Presidencies to take the negotiations forward.

When it comes to timing, from the very beginning, the Commission has been supportive of an ambitious timeline. The European Council in its conclusions of December 2018 called for an agreement in the European Council in autumn 2019. The Commission will continue working very closely with the current and future Presidencies, and in close collaboration with the European Parliament, towards this objective.

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