Take decisive steps before summer recess, lawmakers urge EU leaders

MEP discussed long-term EU budget and recovery fund before the European summit

Photo: EP David Sassoli.

In the run-up to European Council sitting on 19 June, when EU leaders will meet via video conference to discuss the next EU long term budget and the recovery instrument, at the plenary session MEPs expressed clearly their standpoint on future EU financing in the context of the Covid-19 respond.

Opening the debate, EP President David Sassoli said that it is clear for Parliament that there is no going back from the level of ambition expressed in the Commission package. What will be decided in the coming weeks will have an impact on peoples’ lives for the decades to come, he underscored.  

As the European Council President Charles Michel stated in advance “the meeting on Friday will be a crucial stepping stone towards an agreement at a subsequent physical meeting”. The proposal for a new recovery instrument and for the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 presented by the Commission on 27 May will be debated for the first time in depth by EU heads of state or government.

In discussion with MEPs at the hemicycle, EC President once again pointed out that the Next Generation EU is “a brave and ambitious proposal”, but she accented that it is much more than just a rescue package.

If we do this right, Next Generation EU will not only allow our internal market to recover but strengthen its competitiveness and innovative power, she said noting: “We are speeding up the long overdue modernisation that will make us stronger than before the crisis”. The EC President stressed as well that Next Generation EU is also a contract between the generations.

Minister Nikolina Brnjac, on behalf of the Croatian Presidency, reaffirmed that the continuous cooperation with the European Parliament will remain crucial “if we want the package to enter into force already in January 2021”.

On the next long-term EU budget and the Covid-19 recovery fund, MEPs said that time is pressing and it is now in the European Council’s hands to quickly take the next important step: finding a common position among Member States. The economy has to get back on track urgently, and the recovery plan “can get things going, but only with an ambitious long-term budget can we cross the finishing line”.

Many MEPs underlined that the Commission’s proposal is “the bare minimum”. They said the EP’s role has to be strengthened in devising and implementing the package, as “a crisis cannot be an excuse to undermine democracy”.

In their statements, members of the EPP Group said they support an ambitious and future-oriented Recovery Plan for Europe and will keep fighting for a strong long-term EU budget. They outlined as well that the EP must be involved in the decision-making process on how the money is used. The group also calls for a credible repayment plan, which would need to start before the end of the 2021-2027 period.

Iratxe García Pérez, S&D leader stated: “We can’t go on holiday in summer before we have initiated the recovery plan. I expect that the few governments that are expressing reluctance will be able to reach an agreement in July, as the money for recovery  need to be invested quickly to make the economy working.

Dacian Ciolos, Renew Europe President emphasized on the need the Council to take decisive step forward and get things moving. The Next Generation EU “is support to our small businesses, our self-employed, our companies and employees”.

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