2022 EU budget: MEPs demand the focus must be on COVID-19 crisis recovery

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


The Budget Committee wants to boost the pandemic recovery process and lay the foundations for a more resilient EU.

The Committee on Budgets adopted, in a vote on Tuesday, their position on the 2022 EU budget. In doing so they restored appropriations on all lines cut by the Council in its negotiating position (€1.43 billion altogether) to the level of the original draft budget proposed by the Commission.

MEPs also increased funding for many programmes and policies, which they see as contributing to the post-pandemic recovery. These include the Horizon Europe research programme (+305 million above the Commission’s draft budget), the Connecting Europe Facility, which funds the construction of high-quality and sustainable trans-European transport, energy and digital networks (+207 million), and the environment and climate action LIFE programme (+171 million).

Young people and health

Support for young people remains a key priority: Erasmus+ has been increased by 137 million, equivalent to an additional 40,000 mobility exchanges, and 700 million was added to the draft budget to support the implementation of the European Child Guarantee. EU4Health is also reinforced, with an additional 80 million to build up a strong European Health Union and strengthen the resilience of national health systems.

Humanitarian aid, migration, external assistance

Members of the Committee on Budgets reinforced funding for humanitarian aid by 20% and boosted the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, especially in light of the situation in Afghanistan. They also bolstered the Covax initiative for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. In the domain of security and defence, MEPs increased the relevant budget lines by more than 80 million.

Quotes

Karlo Ressler (EPP, HR), general rapporteur for the EU budget 2022 (for section III – Commission): “The European budget for next year will affect every region, every sector and every generation in Europe. We have worked for several months to reach a clear and strong position with the aim to push the post-pandemic recovery further. With this position, we have to convince our colleagues in the Council that the investment in recovery has no alternative and that these are the expectations of our citizens.”

Damian Boeselager (Greens/EFA, DE), rapporteur for the other sections: “Parliament highlights that prudent budgetary support for EU institutions is a pressing concern, especially in times of rapidly expanding tasks for these institutions; for example in the context of the supervision of hundreds of billions of additional funds in the Recovery Fund. The Parliament’s reading therefore restores the Council’s cuts on nearly all budget lines and increases select lines above the draft budget presented by the Commission.”

Next steps

The figures for the budget as adopted by the committee will be available shortly and MEPs will vote on an accompanying resolution on 11 October. The whole Parliament will vote on its position on the 2022 draft budget during the 18-22 October plenary session. This will launch three weeks of “conciliation” talks with the Council, with the aim of reaching a deal in time for next year’s budget to be voted on by Parliament and signed by its President at the end of November.

Background

About 93% of the EU budget funds activities on the ground in EU countries and beyond. It goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers, researchers, students, NGOs and businesses.

The EU budget is unique. Unlike national budgets, which are used in large part for providing public services and funding social security systems, the EU budget is primarily an investment budget.

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