MEPs: We also have the power to accept or reject the next MFF

Parliament will not throw away its rights for the sake of urgency, said Budgets Committee Chair Van Overtveldt

Photo: EP Johan Van Overtveldt.

At the next European Council sitting on 17 and 18 July, the EU leaders will meet face to face in Brussels with the tough task to decide on the recovery package, composed of the revised next seven-year EU budget and the Next Generation EU rescue instrument. While the differences are still great between the two main camps - that of the 'frugal four' and the one that calls for greater solidarity in response to the socio-economic effects of the crisis, Parliament's negotiating team for the next long-term EU budget and own resources reform stressed that MEPs also have the power to accept or reject the next MFF.

Three things are absolutely required for the recovery strategy and the next long-term budget to come into being, the chair of the Committee on Budgets, Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR, BE), told the media on Tuesday. In his words, it will require 27 Member States to be on board, strong leadership and brokering from the EU Commission and, last but not least, the European Parliament's full engagement.

All eyes are on the next European Council where all important decisions are made, he said, however making clear that this will not be the end of the story.

The chair of the Budgets Committee stated that there will be negotiations between the EP and the German Presidency on each and every aspect of the MFF, on the own resources, and of course on the Recovery and resilience package, he said. Our message to the German Council Presidency is clear: “Do the best together with EUCO President Michel to quickly reach an agreement on compromise between the Member States, but let's meet as soon as possible and as frequently as necessary so that the Parliament view can be taken into account,” Van Overtveldt warned.

He recalled that the EP have the power to adopt very important and detailed elements on an equal footing with the Council - the legislation for the expenditure programmes, the rule of law mechanism, the future annual budgets, to give just three examples.

For Parliament to give its consent to the next multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, its programmes must be sufficiently endowed so that long-term priorities can be tackled, not just the immediate recovery needs, he said.

Commenting on the new sources of EU revenue, so-called own resources, Van Overtveldt emphasised that they are even more necessary now in order to cover the refinancing costs of the recovery instrument through means other than additional national contributions or a reduced EU budget that would punish the next generations. As for the recovery instrument itself, full democratic accountability and transparency through parliamentary participation and oversight must be guaranteed, he opined.

The BUDG chair reaffirmed that Parliament is ready to work quickly, but it “will not throw away its rights and powers for the sake of urgency”. There is no reason why the responsibility to move rapidly should only fall to the European Parliament, which has been waiting for the Council to find an agreement among Member States for almost two years, he pointed out.

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