Post-2020 EU budget: Parliament challenges Commission over scale of cuts
- MEPs challenge EU Commission’s comparative figures for the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF)
- Parliament’s calculations show that agricultural funds would be reduced by 15%, and regional development ones by 10%
- EU should boost research programmes, support for young people and small firms
MEPs want adequate EU funding to meet new challenges like security and migration and deliver on existing policy aims such as regional development and Erasmus+.
A non-legislative resolution on the EU Commission’s 2 May legislative proposals for the 2021-2027 multi-annual financial framework (MFF) and “own resources” reform was passed on Wednesday by 409 votes to 213, with 61 abstentions.
MEPs say that the Commission’s comparative data do not show the full extent of the proposed EU funding reductions for Europe’s regions and farming communities.
According to Parliament’s own calculations, these would lose 10% and 15% respectively, rather than “around 5%” as calculated by the Commission. They reiterate their position that funding for the common agricultural and cohesion policies must be maintained at least at current levels.
Similarly, the Commission’s proposed increases for key programmes such as research or Erasmus+ are significantly smaller than announced, say MEPs.
Parliament asks for the Erasmus+ programme budget to be tripled, specific funding for SMEs and tackling youth unemployment to be doubled and the research and innovation budget to be increased by at least 50% , “in order to enable [key EU policies] to fulfil their mission and objectives.” Additional funding is likewise needed for security, migration and external relations, it adds.
As to reforming the EU’s sources of revenue (“own resources”), MEPs welcome the proposed introduction of three new EU own resources, based on a new corporate tax scheme, revenues from the Emissions Trading System and a plastic tax, to reduce gross national income-based direct contributions from member states.
Parliament also reiterates that the expenditure and revenue sides of the next MFF should be treated as a single package in the upcoming negotiations, and that “no agreement can be reached with Parliament on the MFF without corresponding headway being made on own resources”.
This resolution supplements Parliament’s position (and mandate for the forthcoming negotiations with the Council), consisting of two earlier resolutions, voted on 14 March, on the expenditure and revenue sides of the next MFF.
The adoption of a new MFF Regulation requires Parliament’s consent.
About 94% of the EU budget funds real activities on the ground in EU countries and beyond. It goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers, researchers, students, NGOs and businesses. The EU's administrative expenses account for about 6% of the total EU budget.