2021 budget should boost recovery, jobs

The general rapporteur on the file is on hunger strike

Photo: EP Pierre Larrouturou declared he will be on a hunger strike “as long as it takes to be heard”.

The EP Budgets Committee adopted on Wednesday a resolution setting the overall level of the 2021 EU budget, the first of the new MFF, at just under €182bn in commitment appropriations, which beefs it up with new €15bn compared to the Commission's suggestion.

The extra money will go for the 15 EU flagship programmes and projects to prop up the young, researchers, health workers, entrepreneurs, among others.

The key focus of next year's budget should be to alleviate the effects of the pandemic and support the recovery, building on the Green Deal and digital transformation.

BUDG lawmakers underlined that this budget should promote fair, inclusive and sustainable growth, high-quality job creation and its long-term goal of socioeconomic convergence.

Increased spending in next year's budget is also foreseen in areas such as climate change, energy, digital and transport interconnectivity, SMEs, tourism, security, migration, fundamental rights, and external action. A biodiversity spending level of 10% and a climate mainstreaming spending level of 30% was also in their proposal for the 2021 budget.

The resolution was adopted with 35 votes to 2 and 4 abstentions. It was authored by the general rapporteur for the Commission's budget, centre-left French MEP Pierre Larrouturou, and the rapporteur for the other institutions' administrative budget, Belgian MEP from the Renew Europe Group Olivier Chastel.

From Wednesday, the general rapporteur Pierre Larrouturou begun a hunger strike, as he was trying for months to convince the French and German leaders for the creation of a European tax on financial transactions. In a tweet, he said that “it's obscene to hear that there is no money for health, climate, and jobs, while the financial markets have never been in such good state”.

Using the same media, on Thursday, he stressed that following the announcement of the next level of containment in the EP, he will remain on hunger strike in the almost empty building. He promised to stay “as long as it takes to be heard”. I don't want to die, but to avoid millions of deaths that lie ahead without a budget to match climate, health employment, he tweeted.

On the 2021 budget, Chastel commented that it will provide targeted reinforcements to the European Public Prosecutor's Office, “enabling it to fully carry out its missions aimed at protecting the European budget and ensuring that taxpayers' money is fully used for the realisation of policies of general interest”. The nature of this body requires a reinforced guarantee of independence in order to enable it to be able to uphold the rule of law in the territory of the Union by effectively combating fraud and corruption, he added.

Debate and vote on the resolution is scheduled for the first November plenary session, in two weeks. The first conciliation meeting between the Council and the Parliament will take place on 19 November.

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