Council’s MFF proposal critisised

The Chair of EP’s Budget Committee said the draft is "disappointing"

Photo: EP Johan Van Overtveldt (L).

The ‘negotiating box’ for the 2021-2027 European budget which Charles Michel presented on 14 February as a basis for the discussions with EU leaders at the Special summit next Thursday was sharply critisised yesterday evening by Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR, BE), Chair of the Committee on Budgets.

President Michel proposed a MFF of 1.074% of the EU’s gross national income, or €1.095tr, of which a quarter is to go towards making the EU neutral in terms of CO2 emissions by 2050.

The EU budget summit should “not conclude any agreement on the basis of such a proposal that fully disregards Parliament’s position and prevents the EU from achieving its objectives”, Johan Van Overtveldt, who is also Head of the EP’s MFF negotiating team, said.

He underlined that the EC and the Council showed themselves very ambitious recently: on climate, on the digital revolution, on the EU geopolitical role, and more, which is to be applauded. But against this background, the proposal on the MFF is disappointing, he asserted.

If we do not decide to invest together now, we will pay a higher price later, he warned noting that while the current consensus provided an opportunity to shape the right budget for the coming decade, the proposal seriously undermines the credibility of the new political agenda and of the EU institutions. We will surely analyse it carefully, including the idea to enhance the EIB's capacity, he said. 

 He also stressed that those who are excessively focused on ‘how much I give - and how much I get back’ are missing the point. The Union budget finances common goods and common policies. The benefits of belonging to the single market and to the European political project largely outweigh the cost of contributing to its budget. By weakening the budget, they weaken us all, he pointed out.

Parliament has been ready to negotiate since November 2018. We are in favour of a quick agreement on the MFF, but not at any cost.

 “Therefore, I call on the Heads of State and Government not to conclude any agreement on the basis of such a proposal that fully disregards Parliament’s position and prevents the Union from achieving its objectives. The Parliament would have to reject it.

 I call instead on President Michel and the Leaders to think beyond narrow, short-term national interests, and substantially improve this proposal in the interest of Europe as a whole.”

 In a statement made last evening, EP President David Sassoli said that “the proposal on the table today is not a satisfactory basis for reaching a budget that responds to the commitments undertaken at the start of the new mandate”. He called on the Heads of State and Government to make every effort to improve it in view of the summit on 20 February, “because otherwise the Parliament will not be able to accept it”.

 

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