EU budget MEPs: don’t pocket extra revenue, match your promises on refugee crisis instead
A €9.4 billion reduction in member states' contributions to the 2015 European Union budget should be used to help solve the refugee crisis by paying for member state promises made at successive European Councils, said on Thursday MEPs in charge of negotiating next year’s budget.
2016 budget co-rapporteurs Mr José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT) and Mr Gérard Deprez (ALDE, BE), as well as Ms Eider Gardiazábal Rubial (S&D, ES) in charge of the 2015 budget, call on member states to use the amount to match their promises and provide the money desperately needed to handle the refugee crisis.
Member states are lagging behind by €2.3 billion in paying up for the financing to the trust funds and to UN agencies helping refugees on the ground, said the Commission on 4 November. Member states have not delivered the promised funds to the Africa Trust Fund, the Syria Trust Fund and to the various international organisations including the World Food Programme, UNHCR and UNICEF.
With just the additional revenue from fines and higher than expected customs duties these most urgent shortfalls could be already covered. The full amount of €9.4 could help member states to better manage the challenges posed by the reception of unprecedented numbers of refugees in Europe's cities and regions.
Negotiations on next year’s budget between Parliament and Council start on 9 November. The MEPs hope that the additional room for manoeuvre enabled by the lower contributions for 2015 will ease the conclusion of an agreement with the Council on the 2016 EU budget, in particular on another key priority of jobs.
Budget rapporteurs' quotes:
Mr Fernandes: “Member states cannot claim anymore that they don't have the money - €9.4 billion is flowing back to them. They need to use this sum to boldly address the refugee crisis head on.”
Mr Deprez: “We don't ask for this sum to remain in the EU budget - all we want is that member states finally assume their responsibility and instead of swallowing the surprise income, pay for their pledges.”
Ms Gardiazábal: “Parliament is willing to adopt this amending budget as quickly as possible if member states live up to the financial pledges made to feed the two trust funds and the UN agencies. But they also must increase humanitarian assistance along the transit routes.”
The European Commission said €9.4 billion less contributions were needed from member states to finance the 2015 expenses. Within the amount, €2.3 billion is additional revenue from fines and higher than expected customs duties. The Commission proposed to decrease member state contributions by €9.4 billion in a draft amending budget on 19 October.