2021 EU Budget must be key part of the Covid-19 recovery plan

MEPs say Commission must propose an MFF contingency scheme in two weeks

Photo: EP Pierre Larrouturou.

Mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and support the recovery, building on the Green Deal and digital transformation should be next year’s EU budget priorities, MEPs from the Committee on Budgets said in a resolution, adopted with overwhelming majority. The plenary will vote on the file during the June session.

In a resolution, authored by Pierre Larrouturou (S&D, FR), BUDG lawmakers stressed that “the Union and all of its Member States must show full solidarity with those most in need, pulling together as a community and ensuring that no country is left to fight this pandemic and the aftermath on its own, including through a 2021 budget commensurate to this historical challenge.” Next year’s budget “should be the first of an updated, reoriented and very ambitious 2021-2027 MFF”, they underscored.

BUDG members said they expect the Commission to present a draft 2021 budget that is an important part of the recovery plan, which “needs to be built on the European Green Deal and digital transformation of our societies to rebuild our economy, ensure resilience and inclusion. It should protect people’s wellbeing and health from further risks and environmental impacts, create high-quality jobs and ensure social, economic and territorial cohesion and convergence, the resolution reads.

MEPs’ also asserted that the current crisis should “not reduce the ambition of moving towards the objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, requiring cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared with 1990 levels by 2030”.

They insisted EU-funded research to be increased, be it in relation to Covid-19 to develop vaccines and treatments or with regard to the EU’s climate goals. MEPs remind that “many excellent proposals for research cannot be implemented not because of their bad quality but due to significant under-funding of the programmes.

Support for small and medium sized enterprises should be boosted, including special emphasis on the digital transformation of SMEs as they are most likely to be the most affected companies by the economic downturn due to the pandemic.

MEPs also urged for full implementation of the European pillar of social rights in the 2021 EU budget, considering the immediate and long-term major negative social impacts of the current situation. The executive should provide an adequate level of resources in the budget 2021 to tackle the increased migration pressure, also by supporting third countries from which migration flows originate, they said.

Committee members also claimed that the Commission must propose an MFF contingency plan in two weeks in order to protect beneficiaries of EU programmes and ensure continuity of funding in case the new MFF is not in place on time for 2021.

 

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