Lawmakers are positive on recovery deal, but critical on MFF

They will strive to secure improvements on programmes like Horizon, InvestEU, LIFE, Erasmus+

Photo: EP Johan Van Overtveldt.

Parliament’s negotiating team on the Multiannual Financial Framework and own resources was very fast to deliver its reaction about the political compromise reached at the European Council, held on 17-21 July. MEPs said they remain ready to immediately enter negotiations in order to achieve “a better agreement for Europe”.

On Tuesday, in a statement they welcomed the fact that at last a common position has been achieved, and that the newly created recovery instrument Next Generation EU’ is financed with a borrowing of EUR €750bn.

Nevertheless, Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR, BE), Chair of the Committee on Budgets, Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL), MFF co-rapporteur, Margarida Marques (S&D, PT), MFF co-rapporteur, José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT), Own Resources co-rapporteur, Valérie Hayer (RENEW, FR), Own Resources co-rapporteur and Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA, DE) said they remain critical, particularly on the long-term perspective.

The Recovery Instrument is an important step towards a new ambition for the Union: greener, more competitive and digital, the group of six MEPs emphasized, noting that this massive borrowing is an historical moment for the EU, and “we should not disregard what just happened.” “However, we regret that the Member States decided to entirely abandon the ‘bridge solution’, whose objective was precisely to provide immediate crisis response to the citizens, following the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Saying that Parliament will continue working hard to ensure that the recovery starts without delays, they underlined that democratic oversight must be substantially increased. “Parliament, as one arm of the budgetary authority will fight to be fully involved in the establishment and implementation of the Recovery Instrument”.

According to them, the picture is much more negative when it comes to the EU long-term budget (the MFF). Parliament cannot accept the proposed record low ceilings as they mean renouncing to the EU’s long-term objectives and strategic autonomy, while citizens ask for more. Ke  On key programmes that have been considerably shrunk, and lost most of their top-ups under Next Generation EU, they will strive to secure improvements, including higher amounts, on future-oriented MFF programmes like Horizon, InvestEU, LIFE, Erasmus+.

If our conditions are not sufficiently met we will adopt the programmes on the basis of the existing MFF, as foreseen by the Treaty the EP’s negotiating team members warned.

“The compromise is also a flagrant missed opportunity when it comes to modernising the revenue side, making it fairer and more transparent. The EU is now allowed to borrow funds but there is no certainty on how the debt will be repaid. Parliament has been clear: the recovery should not reduce investment capacities nor harm the national taxpayer. This is why new genuine own resources are the solution to repay the common debt, but the plastic-based contribution will not do the trick alone!”

They also recalled their strict demand to that respect: a binding commitment for the introduction of additional own resources as soon as 2021, and still in the course of the MFF 2021-2027. Furthermore, despite the United Kingdom leaving the EU, the insistence on the rebates has been extremely tough and results in a big step back for the European project: instead of being abolished, rebates are kept and even increased.

They asserted that Parliament remains firmly against watering down the mechanism to reduce or suspend EU funding if a Member State disrespects the rule of law, and this issue should not be put off but addressed now. Parliament has stood ready to enter into negotiations under co-decision to continue building a Europe of fundamental rights.

Similar articles