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MEPs adopt their position on the 2017 EU Budget ahead of talks with the Council and insist that next year's budget and the revision of the multiannual financial framework must be negotiated as a package© AP Images/ European Union-EP 

Parliament demanded more funds, to help young people into jobs, boost economic growth and assist third countries with a view to mitigating the migration crisis, in a plenary vote on Wednesday. MEPs reversed all the Council’s proposed cuts in the draft EU budget for 2017. They expect some of the additional funds needed to come from new appropriations to be obtained through the mid-term revision of the EU’s long-run budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

MEPs have set overall appropriations for 2017 at €160.7 billion (+€4.1bn compared to the draft budget) for commitments and €136.7 billion (+€2.5bn) for payments.


“The EU is facing an unprecedented number of different challenges. If we are serious about getting to grips with these, then we need a well-funded EU budget. When we first negotiated the MFF for 2014-2020 in 2013, there were far fewer refugees arriving in Europe each year. Now the number is well over a million. We have to recognise that circumstances have changed. We need a comprehensive revision of the MFF and a more ambitious EU budget. The current MFF is outdated”, said lead rapporteur (Commission section) Jens Geier (S&D, DE).


“This is what we will be pushing for in the upcoming negotiations with the Council on the budget for 2017. Youth unemployment is still far too high in Europe. We are calling for an extra €1.5 billion to be made available to fund the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), which should be made possible by revising the MFF“, he added.


“The Parliament has decided to hold 20% of the allowances of former Commissioners in reserve until the Commission enforces a stricter Code of conduct to prevent conflict of interests and the revolving doors. I am absolutely confident that putting this money to reserve encourages the Commission to act, in the light of recent revelations and in order to regain the confidence of Union citizens”, said the rapporteur for the other sections Indrek Tarand (Greens/EFA, EE).


The resolution on Parliament’s position on the EU's budget for 2017 was approved by 446 votes to 184, with 60 abstentions.


Youth, growth and jobs


MEPs added €1.5 billion in commitment appropriations for the Youth Employment Initiative, to help youngsters desperately seeking a job.


They also decided to reinstate in full the original budgets of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which funds infrastructure projects, and the Horizon 2020 programme, which backs research projects. Both programmes underwent cuts to help fund the EU contribution to the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The corresponding additional commitments amount to €1.24 billion above the proposed draft budget.


These additional funds should be obtained through the ongoing mid-term revision of the EU’s long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), they said.


Refugee and migration crisis


Funding for the EU refugee deal with Turkey and other ad-hoc funds or instruments should not come at the expense of the Union’s existing external action, including its development policy, MEPs say. They “strongly question” whether the funds for projects in third countries are sufficient, especially in view of the current refugee and migration crisis.


MEPs therefore reversed all the Council’s cuts in this area (Heading 4, “Global Europe”), and also reinstated the 2016 levels for the ENI Mediterranean lines and for humanitarian aid.

 

Agriculture


MEPs increased appropriations for the agricultural sector by €600 million above the draft budget, to tackle the effects of the dairy sector crisis and the effects of the Russian embargo on the milk sector.

 

Culture


Parliament reinforced spending on culture, communication and citizenship by increasing funding for example to the MEDIA sub-programme by €10,882,000 and to Multimedia actions by €13 million.

 

Next steps


The plenary vote kicks off three weeks of “conciliation” talks with the Council (up to 17 November this year), with the aim of reaching a deal between the two institutions in time for next year's budget to be voted by Parliament and signed by its President in December.


If Parliament and the Council fail to agree on the 2017 budget by the end of the conciliation procedure, then the European Commission is required to table a new draft budget.


1.5 billion  ; Euros more to help young people find jobs

Who's involved 
2017 general budget: all sections