Parliament's Budgets Committee has decided to postpone the consent vote to the EU's 2014-2020 budget regulation, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), initially scheduled for Wednesday. When the full Parliament will give the MFF its final blessing remains to be seen, as the conditions set out in its resolution of 3 July are still not met, says a statement issued on Tuesday by its three largest political groups, the EPP, S&D and ALDE.

"Good faith"

On 27 June an agreement was struck at the highest political level on the MFF. The three groups now "urge the Presidency of the European Council and the Commission to make sure that this is respected by all parties in good faith".

"The MFF agreement is a compromise, reached with leadership and commitment from all sides. It is very much needed by citizens and the Council must face up to its responsibilities and put it into effect, as Parliament is prepared to do", explains MFF rapporteur Ivailo Kalfin (S&D, BG).

Legal bases for agriculture, structural and cohesion funds still blocked

Parliament wants to ensure that the legal texts required for the long-run budget, inter alia those on EU agricultural, regional and cohesion policies, are approved in good time, to ensure that the funds are available. These texts are to be approved via the Council/Parliament co-decision procedure.

Payments gap still not closed

Parliament also wants an absolute guarantee that the payments shortfall for 2013 - an estimated €11.2 billion - will be fully made up. So far the Council has agreed to pay only €7.3 billion.

High-level group on own resources

The June agreement also provided for the establishment of a high-level working group on EU "own resources", to put the modernisation of EU financing on the right track.

Parliament insists that a decision must be taken on the mandate and membership of this group, which is to deliver a first assessment in 2014. The three political groups underline that the working group should be convened at the time when the MFF regulation is formally approved.

What about youth employment, research and SMEs?

Finally, the groups express "serious concern" about the Council's position, presented on Tuesday, on the draft budget for 2014. Rather than frontload the 2014 funding for youth, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research and innovation - as agreed - the Council proposes to cut budget commitments and payments for these programmes.

The three political groups view this blunt breach of the agreement, only days after it was reached, as provocative and unacceptable.