A high-level group on EU “own resources” was officially launched on Tuesday by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Council President Antonis Samaras. It will be chaired by former Italian Prime Minister and former Commissioner Mario Monti, who was also present in Strasbourg.

Plans to establish the group were agreed by the three institutions during last year’s negotiations on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. The group will undertake a general review of the way in which the EU budget is funded, with a view to making the “own resources” system simpler, more transparent and more accountable. The new system should replace the current system that is depending on Member States' contributions. A preliminary assessment should be available by the end of 2014.

President Schulz commented that “It is high time for an overhaul of the current system. The EU Treaty says that the EU Budget should be financed from own resources, but we are still stuck with an overly complex and outdated system full of exceptions and mostly made up by contributions from national budgets. I encourage Mr Monti to start the preparatory work as soon as possible and I look forward to discussing the first modernising proposals."

The group’s members will be appointed by the three EU institutions. It will take account of the input of national parliaments, which will also be invited to an inter-institutional conference in 2016 to assess the outcome of the work.

Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR), Ivailo Kalfin (S&D, BG) and Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) will represent the European Parliament in the group.