The ball on next MFF is in Council's court

MEPs say they are ready to accelerate the negotiations

Photo: EP Johan Van Overtveldt.

As the clock is ticking relentlessly and less than 100 days are left until the start of the new programming period, Parliament's negotiating team is utterly concerned about the lack of progress in the talks on the bloc's next long-term budget.

During the week, the team of six EP negotiators has met for the fifth time in a trilogue sitting with the German Presidency and the Commission.

The Parliament is ready to accelerate the negotiations, and the ball is in the Council's court, so Member States need to move and to come up with serious counterproposals on the top-ups for EU programmes and on EU income, emphasised the Budgets Committee chair and head of the EP's negotiating team, Johan Van Overtveldt.

Saying that this is not an institutional battle, he added that so far the EP have seen no movement on the possibility to reinforce any of the proposals the Parliament put forward.

After this round, lawmakers from the EP's negotiating team argued that they have still not seen any viable offer from the Council's side concerning the key issue of top-ups for the 15 flagship EU programmes since the start of the talks.

They press for real increases to these programmes, which Council has cut harshly. With plans currently on the table, as of 2024, the EU budget as a whole will be below 2020 levels, putting at risk the EU's commitments and priorities, notably the Green Deal and the Digital Agenda, they underscored.

They stressed that the beneficiaries of the EU budget want to be able to plan ahead, and the citizens are waiting for a response to the crisis. There are just a few weeks left before the end of October. If no political agreement on the next MFF is reached by then, it would jeopardise the smooth start of the new programmes as of 1 January 2021, MEPs warned.

The six negotiators pointed out that Council must not delay the talks further, and start the ratification procedure for the Own Resources Decision immediately, in order to swiftly start the recovery plan.

They also complained that no further progress, since the steps ahead made during the last round, has either been reached on the legally binding commitment to introduce new Own Resources, beyond an agreement to integrate it into the interinstitutional agreement accompanying the MFF regulation.

EP negotiators insisted that introduction of new Own Resources must be linked to the repayment of the debts derived from the recovery plan, or Next Generation EU.

Committed to moving the budget faster to final adoption, they demand a binding roadmap for the three institutions on new sources of EU income in order to pay back the recovery cost, for instance “through the contributions from transnational polluters and multinational corporations that practice tax optimisation, so it won't become a burden for the next generation”.

 

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