Procedure : 2017/2043(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0249/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0249/2017

Debates :

PV 04/07/2017 - 16
CRE 04/07/2017 - 16

Votes :

PV 05/07/2017 - 8.10

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0302

REPORT     
PDF 976kWORD 131k
30 June 2017
PE 605.968v02-00 A8-0249/2017

on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget

(2017/2043(BUD))

Committee on Budgets

Rapporteur: Siegfried Mureşan

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 ANNEX: JOINT STATEMENT ON THE DATES FOR THE BUDGETARY PROCEDURE AND MODALITIES FOR THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CONCILIATION COMMITTEE IN 2018
 OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education
 OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETARY CONTROL
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget

(2017/2043(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–  having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2018, which the Commission adopted on 30 May 2017 (COM(2017)0000),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(1),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2017 on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2018 budget, Section III – Commission(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 21 February 2017 on the 2018 budget guidelines (06522/2017),

–  having regard to Rule 86a of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A8-0249/2017),

Draft budget 2018: delivering on growth, jobs and security

1.  Recalls that in its resolution of 15 March 2017 Parliament confirmed that sustainable growth, decent, quality and stable jobs, socio-economic cohesion, security, migration and climate change are the core issues and main priorities for the 2018 EU budget;

2.  Believes that in general terms the Commission proposal is a good starting point for this year’s negotiations, considering that the 2018 EU budget must enable the EU to continue to generate sustainable growth and jobs, while ensuring the security of its citizens and addressing the migration challenges; regrets that the Commission proposal does not fully correspond to Parliament's call for action against climate change;

3.  Welcomes the decision of the Commission to include in the draft budget the results of the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 even before its formal adoption by the Council, thus sending a strong signal about the importance of this MFF revision and the need for increased flexibility in the EU budget that could enable the Union to effectively respond to new emergencies and finance its political priorities;

4.  Reiterates its firm conviction that in order to achieve sustainable growth and the creation of stable and quality jobs in the EU, boosting investment in research, innovation, infrastructure, education and SMEs is key; welcomes in this respect the proposed reinforcements to Horizon 2020, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and Erasmus+ as these programmes will contribute directly to reaching these goals; considers, however, that further reinforcements will be needed, especially given the cuts operated in these policies’ financing to the benefit of EFSI financing;

5.  Recalls the crucial role of SMEs in job creation and reduction of the investment gap, and underscores that their adequate funding must remain one of the top priorities of the EU budget; regrets, in this respect, that the proposed allocation for COSME is 2.9 % lower in comparison with the 2017 budget, and expresses its intention to further reinforce this programme in the 2018 budget; points to the need to further support SMEs and calls for full delivery on the programme's financial commitments in the remaining years of the current MFF; welcomes the Commission's attempt at streamlining SME financing within Horizon 2020;

6.  Commends the role of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in bridging the investment gap across the EU and between the EU's territories and helping to implement strategic investments that provide a high level of added value to the economy, the environment and society; supports, therefore, its extension until 2020; highlights the quick uptake of funds in the SME Window of EFSI and welcomes its intended scale-up; regrets, however, the lack of a holistic approach to SME funding that would allow for a clear overview of total funds available; underlines its position in the ongoing legislative negotiations that no further cuts should be incurred in existing EU programmes in order to finance this extension; considers that EFSI, whose guarantee fund is mostly financed by the EU budget, should not support entities established or incorporated in jurisdictions listed under the relevant EU policy on non-cooperative jurisdictions, or that do not effectively comply with EU or international tax standards on transparency and exchange of information;

7.  Takes positive note of the EU initiatives in the field of defence research and technology development and acquisition, which will contribute to achieving economies of scale in the sector and greater coordination among Member States, and, if developed correctly, will lead to more rational defence spending and enable savings at national level; underlines also the need to improve competitiveness and innovation in the European defence industry; recalls its earlier position that new initiatives in this area should be financed by additional funds and should not be detrimental to existing programmes, including the CEF;

8.  Notes that the Commission has not followed up on Parliament’s request that it put forward an assessment and relevant proposals for an ‘18th Birthday Interrail Pass for Europe’; believes that such proposals have the potential to boost European consciousness and identity; stresses, however, that any new projects must be financed by new financial resources and without impacting on existing programmes, and should be as socially inclusive as possible; reiterates its previous call on the Commission to put forward relevant proposals in this regard;

9.  Welcomes the fact that the draft budget 2018 includes an additional allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), thus responding to Parliament’s previous calls for the continuation of this programme; notes, in parallel, the proposal for draft amending budget 3/2017 that integrates the provision of EUR 500 million in commitments for the YEI, as agreed by Parliament and the Council in the 2017 budgetary conciliation; is convinced that the proposed amounts are clearly insufficient for the YEI to reach its goals, and believes that in order to effectively tackle youth unemployment the YEI must continue to contribute to the Union’s priority objective of growth and jobs; insists on the need to provide an effective response to youth unemployment across the Union, and underlines that the YEI can be further improved and be made more efficient, notably by ensuring that it brings real European added value to youth employment policies in the Member States and does not replace the financing of former national policies;

10.  Recalls that cohesion policy plays a primary role for the development and growth of the EU; stresses that in 2018 cohesion policy programmes are expected to catch up and reach cruising speed; emphasises Parliament’s commitment to ensuring adequate appropriations for these programmes, which represent one of the core policies of the EU; is, however, preoccupied by the unacceptable delays in the implementation of operational programmes at national level; calls on Member States to ensure that the designation of managing, auditing and certifying authorities is concluded and implementation is accelerated; recognises that the long negotiations over the legal bases have meant that the EU institutions involved in them have their portion of responsibility for the low implementation rate; notes the fact that some Member States consider that cohesion funds could be a tool for guaranteeing solidarity in Union policies;

11.  Is particularly concerned at the possible reconstitution of a backlog of unpaid bills towards the end of the current MFF period, and recalls the unprecedented amount of EUR 24.7 billion reached at the end of 2014; welcomes the fact that the Commission, on the occasion of the MFF mid-term revision, for the first time provided a payment forecast up to 2020, but stresses that this needs to be duly updated every year, in order to allow the budgetary authority to take the necessary measures in time; warns of the detrimental effect that a new payment crisis would have especially on beneficiaries of the EU budget; is convinced that the credibility of the EU is also linked to its ability to ensure an adequate level of payment appropriations in the EU budget that will allow it to deliver on its commitments; underlines the detrimental effect that late payments have on the private sector, and notably on EU SMEs having contracts with public bodies;

12.  Highlights the importance of delivering on the EU's commitment to achieving the goals set at COP21, especially in the light of the recent decision of the US Administration to withdraw from the agreement; underlines, in this respect, that there is a serious risk of falling short of meeting the objective of devoting at least 20 % of EU expenditure in the 2014-2020 MFF to climate-related actions unless more efforts are made; notes with concern the modest increase of 0.1 % for biodiversity; stresses the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity protection across the EU budget, and reiterates its previous call for a tracking methodology that takes into account all biodiversity-related spending and its efficiency; stresses also that EU-funded projects should aim not to have a negative impact on climate change mitigation or on the transition to a circular, low-carbon economy;

13.  Emphasises that the unprecedented mobilisation of special instruments has shown that the EU budget was not initially designed to address issues like the current migration and refugee crisis; believes that moving to a post-crisis approach is premature; opposes, therefore, the proposed decreases in Heading 3 compared to the 2017 budget, which are not in line with the EU pledge to deal in an efficient manner with the migration and refugee crisis; stresses, however, that after a response to an urgent and unprecedented situation a more systemic and proactive approach should follow, complemented by an effective use of the EU budget; reiterates that citizens' security and safety is an EU priority;

14.  Reaffirms that tackling the root causes of the migration and refugee crisis represents a long-term sustainable solution, along with stabilisation of the EU’s neighbourhoods, and that investments in the countries of origin of migrants and refugees are key to achieving this objective; welcomes, in this regard, the External Investment Plan (EIP), and calls for a swift agreement among the institutions on the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) and for the fund’s rapid implementation; notes therefore with surprise the decreases in Heading 4, which cannot be fully justified in the framework of past budgetary increases or low implementation rate; reaffirms that tackling the root causes of the migration includes, but is not limited, to addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, education and economic opportunities, as well as instability, conflict and climate change;

15.  Welcomes the increase proposed for the eastern component of the European Neighbourhood Instrument, responding to Parliament’s previous calls; is convinced that the EU’s support, especially for the countries that have signed Association Agreements, is essential in order to further economic integration and convergence with the EU and to advance democracy, the rule of law and human rights in our Eastern Neighbourhood; stresses that such support should apply as long as the countries concerned meet the eligibility criteria, especially as regards the rule of law, the fight against corruption, and the strengthening of democratic institutions;

16.  Notes that the draft budget 2018 leaves very limited margins or no margin under the MFF ceilings throughout Headings 1, 3 and 4; considers this to be a consequence of the significant new initiatives taken since 2014 (EFSI, migration-related proposals, and lately defence research and the European Solidarity Corps), which have been squeezed within the MFF ceilings agreed in 2013; recalls that the MFF, in particular after its mid-term revision, provides for flexibility provisions which, albeit limited, should be used to their fullest in order to maintain the level of ambition of successful programmes and tackle new and unforeseen challenges; expresses Parliament’s intention to further mobilise such flexibility provisions as part of the amending process; calls, once again, for the introduction of new genuine own resources in the EU budget;

17.  Notes in this respect the numerous references in the draft budget to the necessity of a letter of amendment which may partially pre-empt Parliament’s position in the budgetary procedure; regrets that, instead of already including them in the draft budget, the Commission has announced that possible new initiatives in the area of security and migration and a possible extension of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT) may be proposed as part of an upcoming letter of amendment; urges the Commission to provide details as to these upcoming proposals in a timely manner so that the budgetary authority can properly examine them; stresses that these potential initiatives should not disregard, let alone replace, requests and amendments put forward by Parliament in the context of this budgetary procedure;

18.  Reiterates its support for the implementation of the Commission's strategy 'Budget Focused on Results', and calls for continuous improvement of the quality and presentation of performance data, so as to provide accurate, clear and understandable information on EU programmes' performance;

Subheading 1a – Competitiveness for growth and jobs

19.  Notes that in comparison with 2017, the Commission proposal for 2018 corresponds to an increase in commitments under subheading 1a of +2.5  % to EUR 21 841.3 million; welcomes the fact that Horizon 2020, the CEF and Erasmus+ account for an important part of this increase as their commitment appropriations rise by respectively 7.3 %, 8.7 % and 9.5 %, but notes still that this is slightly below their financial programming; highlights in particular the very low success rate for applications under Horizon 2020;

20.  Is surprised, however, that COSME commitment and payment appropriations have been reduced respectively by 2.9 % and 31.3 %, although support to SMEs is identified as one of the top priorities of the EU;

21.  Reiterates, regarding the extension of the EFSI, that Parliament opposes any further cuts to the CEF, and takes the view that the additional EUR 1.1 billion allocated to the EU guarantee should be taken only from unallocated margins (for an amount of EUR 650 billion) and expected net positive income (for an amount of EUR 450 billion); recalls that the CEF envelope (ICT strand) also integrates the new Wifi4EU initiative; recalls that the CEF budget is subjected to systematic oversubscription due to insufficient appropriations, especially with regard to the infrastructure strand;

22.  Takes note of the Commission’s proposal to set up a European Solidarity Corps (ESC); notes, however, with concern that, despite Parliament’s warnings, the legislative proposal adopted on 30 May 2017 envisages that three fourths of the ESC budget would be financed by redeployments from existing programmes, and mainly from Erasmus+ (EUR 197.7 million); is concerned at the risk that this situation would pose to those EU programmes, and expresses its intention to further reinforce Erasmus+ in the 2018 budget; reiterates that any new political commitments should be financed with new appropriations and not redeployments from existing programmes;

23.  Welcomes the proposed scaling-up of the preparatory action on defence research and the presentation by the Commission of a legislative proposal for a defence industry development programme;

Subheading 1b – Economic, social and territorial cohesion

24.  Notes that total commitment appropriations for subheading 1b amount to EUR 55 407.9 million, representing an increase of 2.4 % compared to the 2017 budget if draft amending budget 3 is included;

25.  Notes that the proposed amount of EUR 46 763.5 million in payment appropriations is 25.7 % higher than in 2017, this being largely a reflection of the drop experienced in 2017 due to the delay in effectively launching the new operational programmes; recalls that inaccurate forecasts by the Member States have led to a significant underuse of payment appropriations in subheading 1b in 2016, by more than EUR 11 billion, and notes that the proposed 2018 levels have already been revised downwards by EUR 1.6 billion since the previous forecasts;

26.  Stresses the need for the implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes to reach full speed, and strongly believes that any ‘abnormal’ build-up of unpaid bills must be avoided in the future; calls, in this context, on the Commission and the Member States to resolve, as a matter of priority, any outstanding issues linked with the delayed designation of national managing and certifying authorities, as well as other bottlenecks for the submission of payment applications; sincerely hopes that both the national authorities and the Commission have improved their estimates of the payment needs in the 2018 budget and that the proposed level of payment appropriations will be fully executed; recognises that the lengthy negotiations between the EU institutions regarding the legal bases are among the several causes of this current low implementation rate;

27.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal to fund the continuation of the YEI, and notes the proposed mobilisation of EUR 233.3 million from the global margin for commitments; calls on the Commission and the Member States to follow the indications of the recent report of the European Court of Auditors; recalls that any increase in the dedicated allocation for the YEI should be matched with the corresponding amounts from the European Social Fund (ESF); expresses its intention to explore all possibilities in order to further reinforce this programme in the 2018 budget;

28.  Underlines the importance of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) for tackling poverty and social exclusion, and asks for appropriate resources to be allocated in the 2018 budget to allow the needs of the target groups and the Fund’s objectives to be adequately met;

Heading 2 – Sustainable growth: natural resources

29.  Takes note of the proposed EUR 59 553.5 million in commitments (+1.7 % compared to 2017) and EUR 56 359.8 million in payments (+2.6 %) for Heading 2, leaving a margin of EUR 713.5 million under the ceiling for commitments; notes that the increased appropriations to finance the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) needs for 2018 (+2.1%) are largely due to a significantly lower amount of assigned revenue being expected to be available in 2018;

30.  Notes that the Commission has left a EUR 713.5 million margin under the ceilings of Heading 2; points to the fact that increased volatility of agricultural markets, as was the case with the dairy sector crisis in the past, might mean envisaging recourse to this margin; calls on the Commission to ensure that the margin left under the ceilings is sufficient to address any crises that may arise;

31.  Highlights the prolongation of exceptional support measures for certain fruits for which the market situation is still difficult; regrets, however, that the Commission is not currently proposing support measures in the livestock sectors, and particularly in the dairy sector, related to the Russian ban on EU imports, and expects, therefore, a change of course in this regard; expects, consequently, that if the margin of Heading 2 is deployed, a part of it will be allocated to dairy farmers in countries most affected by the Russian embargo; awaits the Commission’s letter of amendment, expected in October 2017, which should be based on updated information on the EAGF funding, verifying real needs in the agricultural sector and duly taking into account the impact of the Russian embargo and other market volatilities;

32.  Welcomes the increase in commitments of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) (+2.4 %) and of the LIFE+ programme (+5.9 %), in line with financial programming, but regrets that considerably reduced payment appropriations seem to reveal a still slow take-off of those two programmes in the 2014-2020 period;

Heading 3 – Security and citizenship

33.  Notes the proposed EUR 3 473.1 million in commitment appropriations for Heading 3; emphasises the need for joint, comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the migration and refugee situation and related challenges;

34.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for an additional EUR 800 million dedicated to tackling security issues, particularly following the series of terrorist attacks in the EU;

35.  Is of the opinion that the importance and urgency of these issues is not in line with the significant decreases in commitment (-18.9 %) and payment appropriations (-21.7 %) proposed for Heading 3 compared with the 2017 budget, notably with regard to the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the Internal Security Fund (ISF) and the Justice programme; calls for adequate budgeting for these funds; insists that these decreases are not justifiable by the delays in implementation of the agreed measures or in adoption of the new legal proposals; calls, therefore, on the Commission to ensure that adequate budgetary resources are provided for and that any additional needs will be swiftly addressed;

36.  Furthermore believes that cooperation among Member States in security-related matters could be further enhanced through increased support from the EU budget; questions how such an objective could be reached while relevant budgetary lines of the ISF are significantly decreased compared to the 2017 Budget; stresses the need to guarantee the necessary funding to implement the proposed new information and border systems, such as the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and the Entry-Exit System;

37.  Considers that 2018 will be a pivotal year in the establishment of the European Agenda on Migration, with several of its key components under development; underlines the need to carefully assess the budgetary implications of a number of legislative proposals on the table, such as the reform of the Dublin common asylum system and the new Entry-Exit System and ETIAS system, including the possibility of their late adoption; stresses the importance of adequate financing to match the Union's ambition in this regard and urgently achieve the establishment of an effective European asylum and migration policy, in full respect of international law and based on solidarity among Member States;

38.  Points out that the Commission’s proposal, for the third year in a row, does not leave any margin under the ceiling for Heading 3, evidencing the outdated size of the smallest MFF heading, as argued by Parliament as part of the mid-term revision process; welcomes, in this context, the Commission’s proposal to mobilise the Flexibility Instrument for an amount of EUR 817 million in commitment appropriations, which can only be made possible thanks to the additional flexibility obtained in the revised MFF Regulation; insists that the expenditure level is still insufficient, and regrets that the Commission has postponed any further proposal to a future letter of amendment;

39.  Recalls Parliament's consistently strong support for culture and media programmes; welcomes the proposed increases for the Creative Europe Programme compared with the 2017 budget, including for the European Year for Cultural Heritage under 'Multimedia actions'; insists, furthermore, on sufficient funding for the programme 'Europe for Citizens'; calls on the Commission to review initiatives under the 'multimedia actions' budget line so as to ensure that the budget effectively supports high-quality independent coverage of EU affairs; reiterates its support for a sustainable multiannual funding arrangement for Euranet+; welcomes, finally, the increases in commitment appropriations for the Food and Feed programme and the Consumer programme compared with the 2017 budget; emphasises, finally, the importance of a strong Health Programme and an appropriate budget to enable European cooperation in the field of health, including new innovations in healthcare, health inequalities, the burden of chronic diseases, anti-microbial resistance, cross-border healthcare and access to care;

Heading 4 – Global Europe

40.  Regrets the overall decrease of financing for Heading 4, amounting to EUR 9.6 billion (-5.6 % compared with the 2017 budget) in commitment appropriations; notes that the decreases in the main Heading 4 instruments are largely linked to past reinforcements approved in the 2017 budget for the FRT and the New Partnership Framework under the European agenda on migration;

41.  Believes that the level of cuts for the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), especially the latter’s southern component, is not justified, given the longer-term needs regarding EU action on migration going beyond the migration compacts under the Partnership Framework and its commitment to international development; calls, in this context, for an increase in the financial resources to be dedicated to the peace process and financial assistance to Palestine and UNRWA; recalls the importance of ensuring sufficient funds for the Southern Neighbourhood, since stability in the Middle East is a key element for addressing the root causes of migration;

42.  Welcomes, nevertheless, the proposed increases for the eastern component of ENI, which will contribute to supporting democratic reforms and economic integration with the EU, especially in the countries that have signed Association Agreements with the Union;

43.  Notes the increased support for political reforms in Turkey (IPA II), especially in the context of the country's backsliding in the fields of the rule of law, freedom of speech and fundamental rights; calls on the Commission to suspend the pre-accession funds if the accession negotiations are suspended, and, should that scenario unfold, to use those funds to directly support civil society in Turkey, and to invest more in people-to-people exchange programmes such as Erasmus+, for students, academics and journalists; expects sufficient funding for the IPA beneficiary countries in the Western Balkans, which are in urgent need of financial support for reforms;

44.  Considers, given the importance of higher education for overall reforms in partner countries, that student mobility and academic cooperation between the EU and neighbourhood countries should receive continuous support; regrets, therefore, the reductions in the appropriations for technical and financial assistance under the three external instruments (IPA, ENI and DCI) aimed at promoting the international dimension of higher education for the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme;

45.  Takes note of the Commission’s proposal to leave a margin of EUR 232 million below the ceiling; is convinced that the challenges that the EU’s external action is faced with call for sustained funding exceeding the current size of Heading 4; recalls that the contingency margin was used in the 2017 budget to allow for funding above the ceiling; maintains that new initiatives should be funded with fresh appropriations and all flexibility options to the level agreed within the MFF revision should be fully used;

46.  Calls on the Commission, which makes repeated references to a possible prolongation of the FRT, to put forward a genuine proposal for its prolongation as soon as possible if that is its intention; recalls the commitment made by Parliament, the Council and the Commission to ensure that the establishment of the FRT and the trust funds is transparent and clear, and consistent with the principle of the unity of the Union budget with respect to the prerogatives of the budgetary authority, including parliamentary scrutiny; urges Member States once again to honour in timely fashion their commitments to the financing of the FRT and the trust funds;

47.  Lends its full support to the pledges made by the EU at the Brussels conference on Syria, confirming the previous London pledges; agrees with the reinforcement of the ENI and of humanitarian aid by EUR 120 million each to meet this pledge;

Heading 5 – Administration

48.  Notes that Heading 5 expenditure is increased by 3.1 % compared to the 2017 budget, up to EUR 9 682.4 million (+EUR 287.9 million); notes that more than one third of this nominal increase is explained by additional appropriations needed for pensions (+EUR 108.5 million); takes note that the additional appropriations result mostly from a growing expected number of pensioners (+4.2 %); takes note also that the number of pensioners is expected to rise further in the coming years; takes note of the rigorous approach to administrative expenditure and the nominal freeze for all non-salary-related expenditure;

49.  Notes that the effective margin is EUR 93.6 million under the ceiling after the offsetting of EUR 570 million for the use of the contingency margin for Heading 3 mobilised in 2017; underlines that Heading 5’s share of the EU budget has slightly increased to 6.0 % (in commitment appropriations) due to pensions;

Pilot projects - preparatory actions

50.  Stresses the importance of pilot projects (PPs) and preparatory actions (PAs) as tools for the formulation of political priorities and the introduction of new initiatives that might turn into standing EU activities and programmes; intends to proceed with the identification of a balanced package of PP-PAs; notes that in the current proposal the margin in some headings is quite limited, or even non-existent, and intends to explore ways to make room for possible PP-PAs without decreasing other political priorities; considers that in its implementation of PP-PAs the Commission should inform step by step the Members of the European Parliament at their origin, so as to ensure full respect for the spirit of their proposals;

Agencies

51.  Notes the overall increase in the draft budget 2018 for decentralised agencies of +3.1 % (not taking into account assigned revenues) and +146 posts, but highlights wide differences between ‘cruising speed’ agencies (-11.2 %) and ‘new tasks’ agencies (+10.5%); assumes that these figures properly reflect the fact that since 2013 most agencies have completed or even exceeded the 5 % staff cuts (some are to complete them in 2018), while staff increases in the same period were confined to agencies dealing with migration and security (+183 posts), financial supervisory agencies (+28 posts) and some agencies entrusted with new tasks (ERA, EASA, GSA) (+18 posts); reiterates its call, as expressed in the 2015 discharge report, to safeguard resources and where necessary provide additional resources so as to ensure the proper functioning of the agencies, including the Network of EU Agencies’ Permanent Secretariat (now called the Shared Support Office);

52.  Reiterates its conviction that the EU agencies active in the Justice and Home Affairs field must be urgently ensured the necessary operational expenditure and staffing levels to allow them successfully to take on the additional tasks and responsibilities that they have been given in recent years; welcomes, in this regard, the staff increases proposed for the European Coast and Border Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which it considers to be the minimum to ensure that these agencies can effectively perform their operations; underlines that the proposed budget and staffing level for Europol is insufficient for it to fulfil its assigned tasks, as the Commission and the Member States have decided in previous years to strengthen cooperation between Member States, especially in the fields of combating terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime and human trafficking and of protection for unaccompanied children; underlines the gaps identified in the existing exchange of information architecture, and urges the Commission to provide eu-LISA with the appropriate human and financial resources for it to fulfil the additional tasks and responsibilities recently assigned to it in this respect; underlines the important role of EASO in supporting Member States in the management of asylum applications, especially when dealing with an increased number of asylum seekers; regrets the decrease in the operational funding level (-23.6 % compared to 2017) and the staffing level (-4 %) for Eurojust, which is currently having to face an increase in its casework;

53.  Notes with concern that the EU agencies in the area of employment and training (CEDEFOP, ETF, EU-OSHA, EUROFOUND) and in the area of environmental action (ECDC, ECHA, EEA, EFSA, EMA) are being treated as particular targets for staff cuts (-5 and -12 posts respectively); believes this is contradictory to the overall Union policies of creating decent, quality and stable jobs and combating climate change; welcomes the increase in staff and budget for ACER and GSA, but underlines that these increases are not sufficient for the agencies to adequately fulfil their tasks;

54.  Notes that the year 2018 is the third REACH registration deadline, affecting a large number of companies in Europe and the highest number of SMEs to date, and that this will consequently have a significant impact on the workload of ECHA; calls, therefore, on the Commission to refrain from the planned reduction of six temporary agent posts in 2018 and to postpone this reduction until 2019 so that ECHA can effectively implement its entire 2018 work programme; notes, in this regard, that ECHA has already implemented a 10% staff reduction for REACH since 2012;

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55.  Recalls that gender mainstreaming is a legal obligation stemming directly from the Treaties; calls for the enforcement of gender budgeting within the budgetary procedure and for budgetary expenditure to be used as an effective tool for promoting equality between women and men; recommends developing a budget plan for implementing gender mainstreaming in the EU institutions, as per the adopted pilot project, and including in the future a specific budget line for managing the coordination of gender mainstreaming throughout the institutions;

56.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(2)

OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.

(3)

OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.

(4)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0085.


ANNEX: JOINT STATEMENT ON THE DATES FOR THE BUDGETARY PROCEDURE AND MODALITIES FOR THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CONCILIATION COMMITTEE IN 2018

A.  In accordance with Part A of the annex to the interinstitutional agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agree on the following key dates for the 2018 budgetary procedure:

1.  A trilogue will be called on 13 July in the morning, before the adoption of the Council’s position;

2.  The Commission will endeavour to present the Statement of Estimates 2018 by late May;

3.  The Council will endeavour to adopt its position and transmit it to the European Parliament by week 37 (third week of September), in order to facilitate a timely agreement with the European Parliament;

4.  The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets will endeavour to vote on amendments to the Council’s position by the end of week 41 (mid-October) at the latest;

5.  A trilogue will be called on 18 October in the afternoon, before the reading of the European Parliament;

6.  The European Parliament’s Plenary will vote on its reading in week 43 (Plenary session of 23-26 October);

7.  The Conciliation period will start on 31 October. In agreement with the provisions of point c of Article 314(4) TFEU, the time available for conciliation will expire on 20 November 2017;

8.  The Conciliation Committee will meet on 6 November in the afternoon hosted by the European Parliament and on 17 November hosted by the Council and may resume as appropriate; the sessions of the Conciliation Committee will be prepared by trilogue(s). A trilogue is scheduled on 9 November in the morning. Additional trilogue(s) may be called during the 21-day conciliation period, including possibly on 13 or 14 November (Strasbourg).

B.  The modalities for the functioning of the Conciliation Committee are set out in Part E of the annex to the above-mentioned interinstitutional agreement.


OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (15.6.2017)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget

(2017/2043(BUD))

Rapporteur: Deirdre Clune

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that robust recovery and sustainable growth and investment (in business, public services and human capital) are key factors for quality employment leading to decent jobs, increasing prosperity, reducing inequalities and boosting upward social convergence and that it is necessary to direct the European structural and investment funds more effectively towards promoting inclusive growth; recalls that the EU budget should contribute financially towards achieving the Europe 2020 targets in the social and employment area;

2.  Emphasises that the 2018 budget must play a key role in enhancing the Union’s contribution to sustainable and inclusive growth and quality jobs, especially in combating youth and long-term unemployment, poverty including in-work poverty, rising inequalities and social exclusion; stresses, in this regard, that the 2018 budget cannot be understood outside the context of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) which needs to be revised by the end of this year at the latest; calls on the Council to complete the review of the MFF as soon as possible;

3.  Underlines the importance of sufficient funding and good budgetary management of the programmes within the MFF 2014-2020 that aim to address unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, such as the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), the different axes of the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) with a special regard to the Eures axis, the three autonomous Budget Headings supporting European Social Dialogue and workers’ organisations and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD); insists, therefore, that for 2018 these programmes’ resources should at least be maintained at the levels of the previous EU budget; notes that payment amounts for this year’s budget were limited as the structural funds have not been absorbed as quickly as expected and stresses that adequate payment appropriations need to be provided for in budget 2018;

4.  Insists that financial support from EU funds continues to prioritise programmes facilitating job creation and job-retention, and to reach as many targeted beneficiaries as possible, in particular for all those furthest from the labour market; recommends that sufficient funding through the respective budget lines be provided for the implementation of the measures identified in the Council’s Recommendation on the integration of the long-term unemployed in the labour market;

5.  Stresses in particular that employment has a positive impact on the recovery process of persons with physical and mental ill-health and that funding should target evidence-based models such as place-and-train schemes;

6.  Considers that the parameters of programmes such as the European Globalisation Fund are unfairly prohibitive on smaller Member States; suggests that the criteria for eligibility be flexible in this regard as redundancies and closures have the ability to affect smaller regions to a greater extent than others;

7.  Insists that adequate commitments and especially payment appropriations are ensured in the 2018 Budget for the European Social Fund (ESF) given that the ESF is entering a period of intense implementation and that payment requests by Member States will increase;

8.  Calls on the Member States to complete the accreditation of all responsible management authorities to ensure efficient operational functioning of the ESF;

9.  Stresses, as stated by the OECD, that more educated people contribute to more democratic societies and sustainable economies, and are less dependent on public aid and less vulnerable to economic downturns; therefore points out that the EU budget should foster investment in quality education, vocational training and innovation not only as a key mechanism to combat unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, but also to enable the EU to compete successfully in the global markets;

10.  Recalls that youth unemployment rates remain unacceptably high in the Union(1) and that the situation of unemployed young people, especially NEETS (not in education, employment, or training), is particularly worrying; emphasises that, in order to address this issue, it is of the utmost importance to ensure the adequate and timely funding of the Youth Guarantee schemes through the YEI and the ESF;

11.  Highlights, in this regard, the importance of continuing the YEI up to the end of the current MFF, and believes it is essential that the Youth Employment Initiative be adequately funded; notes, however, that its funding remains insufficient; welcomes the agreement, in the context of the 2017 budget negotiations, on the fresh funding of EUR 500 million for 2017, and stresses that the Council must adopt the agreed increase before the end of the year; points out the necessity to ensure a funding of at least EUR 700 million for the period 2018-2020, as agreed within the MFF mid-term revision; calls also for the allocation of sufficient payment appropriations to ensure its proper implementation;

12.  Notes with concern the Court of Auditors statement that it is not possible to address the whole NEET population using the resources available from the EU budget alone(2);

13.  Highlights that long-term solutions are needed especially regarding the quality and accessibility of tertiary education systems and also ensuring access to quality employment leading to decent jobs for young people; stresses, in this context, that more financial and administrative efforts need to be done to increase access to Erasmus+ to help remove barriers to mobility for applicants from lower-income households and persons with disabilities that have been more heavily hit by the economic crisis and the cuts;

14.  Highlights the necessity to provide resources for combating poverty, especially child poverty and for supporting measures addressing children’s basic needs such as food supplies, housing, education and healthcare;

15.  Underlines the importance of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) for tackling poverty and social exclusion, and asks for appropriate resources to be allocated in the 2018 budget to allow the needs of the target groups and the Fund’s objectives to be adequately met;

16.  Takes the view that the EU budget should also support vocational training and professional qualification measures, with a specific emphasis on sectoral-specific skills gaps, and promoting in particular the upskilling pathways initiative recently adopted by the Council (targeting low-skilled adults) as well as mobility among apprentices, as is already being done for students under the Erasmus programme;

17.  Calls for a sustained effort to be made through the budget to provide for appropriate training and re-skilling in sectors with labour shortages and in key sectors with high job-creation potential;

18.  Points out that micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (including social enterprises), are the backbone of Europe’s economy, representing 99 % of all businesses in the EU; notes that one of the main problems in setting up and maintaining such enterprises is that of obtaining finance; encourages the use of the ‘Think Small First Principle’; underlines that the 2018 budget should support measures promoting entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship, innovative social enterprises, employee financial participation and self-employment; stresses, in this respect, that the 2018 budget should in particular facilitate access to micro-credits available through the microfinance and social entrepreneurship axis of the EaSI programme; stresses that the amount of grants available for SMEs and social enterprises should be guaranteed in order to maintain their competitiveness and potential for job-creation;

19.  Stresses that the EU budget should support efforts to promote the completion of the single market, competitiveness and social convergence, the development of a policy on socially responsible enterprises, and the monitoring of the application of statutory social standards by enterprises in order to ensure the creation of jobs and growth;

20.  Calls for Parliament’s delegation to emphasise the importance of full implementation of the budget lines dedicated to employment and social affairs;

21.  Points out that changes that reduce the budgetary programming for these lines must be rejected and that a proper balance between commitment and payment appropriations must be found in order to allow these policies to reach their full potential;

22.  Recalls the important contribution that all the employment and social affairs agencies (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working conditions (Eurofound), and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)) have made when dealing with issues within the remit of the EMPL committee, and in particular their potential to address a wide range of problems (such as quality employment leading to decent job creation, new forms of employment, vocational training support and professional qualification measures or occupational safety and health and safety); stresses, against this background, that their tasks are constantly growing and that those agencies must therefore be given the necessary financial and human resources to fulfil their mandate and execute such tasks; strongly supports a case-by-case approach to assessing the individual needs of decentralised agencies;

23.  Stresses that the 2018 budget should promote a high level of worker protection and a culture of prevention across the EU and help to address the new challenges to physical and mental health and safety at work that continue to take place; insists, in this respect, that proper funding for EU-OSHA and the physical and mental health and safety at work strand in the PROGRESS axis of the EaSI programme should be ensured;

24.  Emphasises the need for additional funding for Eurofound in order to balance the substantial increase in the Irish country coefficient over recent years which makes it increasingly difficult to maintain the level of research done by the Agency; stresses the need for additional funding, particularly, in order to secure the work done on the pan-European surveys, and to allow for additional work in relation to ‘undeclared work’ and the ‘integration of refugees and migrants into the labour market’;

25.  Reiterates that pilot projects and preparatory actions are very valuable tools to initiate new activities and policies in the fields of employment and social inclusion; stresses that several ideas of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs have been implemented successfully in the past as pilot projects/preparatory actions (PP/PAs); calls on the Commission to continue with this ‘think outside the box’ approach when selecting the PP/PAs with European added value; is of the opinion, therefore, that that committee make further use of those instruments in 2018; encourages the full use of the margins available under each heading; calls for Parliament to be given regular, detailed updates on the various stages in the implementation of pilot projects and preparatory actions by the Commission; calls on the Commission in the implementation of the PP and PAs to respect their content as agreed and approved by Parliament and the Council.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

12.6.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

40

5

0

Members present for the final vote

Guillaume Balas, Brando Benifei, Mara Bizzotto, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, David Casa, Martina Dlabajová, Arne Gericke, Marian Harkin, Czesław Hoc, Agnes Jongerius, Jan Keller, Ádám Kósa, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Kostadinka Kuneva, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Thomas Mann, Dominique Martin, Emilian Pavel, João Pimenta Lopes, Georgi Pirinski, Marek Plura, Terry Reintke, Sofia Ribeiro, Robert Rochefort, Anne Sander, Sven Schulze, Jutta Steinruck, Romana Tomc, Yana Toom, Renate Weber, Tatjana Ždanoka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Maria Arena, Heinz K. Becker, Deirdre Clune, Tania González Peñas, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Marju Lauristin, Edouard Martin, Joachim Schuster, Csaba Sógor, Michaela Šojdrová, Helga Stevens, Ivo Vajgl, Flavio Zanonato

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Isabella De Monte

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

40

+

ALDE

EPP

Green/EFA

GUE/NGL

S&D

Martina Dlabajová, Marian Harkin, Robert Rochefort, Yana Toom, Ivo Vajgl, Renate Weber

Heinz K. Becker, David Casa, Deirdre Clune, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Ádám Kósa, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Thomas Mann, Marek Plura, Sofia Ribeiro, Anne Sander, Sven Schulze, Michaela Šojdrová, Csaba Sógor, Romana Tomc

Terry Reintke, Tatjana Ždanoka

Tania González Peñas, Kostadinka Kuneva, João Pimenta Lopes

Maria Arena, Guillaume Balas, Brando Benifei, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Isabella De Monte, Agnes Jongerius, Jan Keller, Marju Lauristin, Edouard Martin, Emilian Pavel, Georgi Pirinski, Joachim Schuster, Jutta Steinruck, Flavio Zanonato

5

-

ECR

ENF

Arne Gericke, Czesław Hoc, Helga Stevens

Mara Bizzotto, Dominique Martin

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

In March 2017, the youth unemployment rate was 17.2 % in the EU28 and 19.4 % in the euro area, compared with 19.1 % and 21.3 % respectively in March 2016 - Eurostat, 2nd May 2017: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/8002525/3-02052017-AP-EN.pdf/94b69232-83a9-4011-8c85-1d4311215619

(2)

Special Report No 5/2017: Youth unemployment – have EU policies made a difference?, p. 8.


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (9.6.2017)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget

(2017/2043(BUD))

Rapporteur: Daniel Dalton

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that the common market has been a core objective of economic cooperation and is a key element for economic growth in the EU;

2.  Calls on the Commission to earmark the budget needed to establish the digital single market and all the measures this will entail;

3.  Stresses that a well-functioning, highly integrated and unified single market, one that offers a fair environment for consumers and SMEs, is a cornerstone of stronger EU competitiveness, and calls for an adequate budgetary allocation to support the transformation to the digital era and the internationalisation and reindustrialisation processes of European industry and SMEs;

4.  Considers consumer policy to be a horizontal priority in need of appropriate budgetary allocations; asks the Commission and the Member States to do their utmost to increase education about, and consumer awareness of and empowerment with regard to, consumer policy, product safety and market surveillance, in particular in the Digital Single Market, and to support consumer interest across different EU policies;

5.  Underlines the great growth potential of the free movement of services, which is still underdeveloped in the single market, and calls for initiatives to boost cross-border trade in services, which in a number of service sectors remains underdeveloped owing to uncertainty and administrative complexity, and a lack of well-structured cooperation mechanisms between Member States; believes that any new initiatives need to tackle these obstacles in particular;

6.  Recalls the need to support EU customs policy, and underlines that the simplification of customs procedures and effective enforcement of custom systems are essential to combat fraud and transnational crime and to drive competition; stresses that an adequate budgetary envelope is necessary to guarantee swift implementation of the Union Customs Code (UCC) and to ensure that all the interoperable IT systems required are set up in the Member States;

7.  Emphasises the crucial role of SMEs and micro-enterprises in the EU economy and underlines their need for: efficient financing for innovation, scale-up, internationalisation and access to third markets in order to increase their international competitiveness; stronger support in the process of adopting circular business models; and assistance to accompany them in the digital transformation of the economy and help them better embrace the opportunities it creates; stresses the need for appropriate budget allocations for COSME and the Enterprise Europe Network;

8.  Highlights the importance of standards for EU market competitiveness; stresses the importance of consumer and stakeholder involvement in the standardisation process; recalls that adequate financial support is necessary for the activities of European Standard Organisations (ESOs);

9.  Calls for the reinforcement of single market tools that make consumers and business more aware of internal market rules and enable them to enforce their rights, and that allow for better cooperation between the relevant national authorities, and highlights, in particular, the importance of continuing the financial allocations for SOLVIT and FinNet, as well as of providing appropriate funding for the European Consumer Centres Network in order to support its mission of educating European citizens on their rights as consumers;

10.  Encourages the Commission to increase funding in the framework of Horizon 2020 and EFSI in order to ensure better functioning of the internal market, and to support European enterprises that prioritise inclusion, job creation, research and innovation;

11.  Stresses that single market policy must be a priority as part of the push for better budget spending, and that equivalent savings should be found in other areas to meet spending commitments.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

8.6.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Dita Charanzová, Carlos Coelho, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Daniel Dalton, Nicola Danti, Evelyne Gebhardt, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Robert Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Morten Løkkegaard, Jiří Pospíšil, Virginie Rozière, Christel Schaldemose, Olga Sehnalová, Igor Šoltes, Ivan Štefanec, Catherine Stihler, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Mylène Troszczynski, Anneleen Van Bossuyt

Substitutes present for the final vote

Lucy Anderson, Pascal Arimont, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Kaja Kallas, Julia Reda, Marc Tarabella, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Sabine Verheyen

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Peter Jahr, Markus Pieper

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

30

+

ALDE

Dita Charanzová, Kaja Kallas, Morten Løkkegaard

ECR

Daniel Dalton, Anneleen Van Bossuyt

PPE

Pascal Arimont, Georges Bach, Carlos Coelho, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Peter Jahr, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Markus Pieper, Jiří Pospíšil, Ivan Štefanec, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Sabine Verheyen, Lambert van Nistelrooij

S&D

Lucy Anderson, Nicola Danti, Evelyne Gebhardt, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Virginie Rozière, Christel Schaldemose, Olga Sehnalová, Catherine Stihler, Marc Tarabella

VERT/ALE

Julia Reda, Igor Šoltes

2

-

EFDD

Robert Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz

ENF

Mylène Troszczynski

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (1.6.2017)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget

(2017/2043(BUD))

Rapporteur: Tibor Szanyi

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Stresses the importance of agriculture and rural development in delivering key EU objectives and priorities, such as food security, job creation, the sustainable management of natural resources, innovation and territorial balance, and the fact that agriculture and rural development constitute an important part of the overall EU budget owing to the common nature of the policy; recognises the role of shared management in the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy; recalls that spending on agriculture has declined in relative terms, while at the same time having been assigned new roles in climate change mitigation and the provision of public goods, and now accounts for around 38 % of the EU budget; calls, therefore, for the agriculture budget to remain at least at its current level in order for the sector to continue delivering on key objectives, especially given the fact that the agricultural sector is frequently affected by crises that require a budgetary response; notes that revenue stability must be a priority;

2.  Urges the Member States to fully exploit the programming tools available for agriculture and rural development in the current financial period; urges the Commission to further ensure the smooth implementation of these programmes;

3.  Stresses that the Commission should reliably estimate the needs of agriculture under Heading 2; requests that all available margins under Heading 2 be reserved for the agricultural sector, regardless of other political priorities, and that these margins be protected and maintained in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF); calls for consistent application of the principle that all revenue derived from agriculture remains within the agriculture budget;

4.  Stresses the important role of the crisis reserves; insists that, given their vital contribution to reducing financial losses resulting from the crises affecting this sector, any funds from the 2017 budget that are allocated to the agricultural sector crisis reserve through the financial discipline mechanism and are left unspent be made available in full as direct payments in the 2018 budget in accordance with Article 26(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013;

5.  Notes that European agriculture has increasingly been exposed to crises in recent years; calls, therefore, on the Commission to reconsider the existing crisis reserve system, and to create a new instrument that enables rapid political intervention in the event of a crisis and does not rely on an annual financial discipline mechanism for its funding;

6.  Notes that the points covered by the ‘omnibus package’ make for increased implementation potential and that these points should be reflected appropriately in the 2018 budget; highlights that the budget should be implemented in line with the increased potential of this simplification; calls for sufficient funds to be made available in order to implement all elements of CAP simplification; stresses that CAP simplification should also ensure the further reduction of error rates in the use of the funds, while positive changes should also mean simplification for the end user; supports all steps taken towards a performance-based approach;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to monitor, in a timely manner, the price volatility of agricultural products, which has adverse effects on farmers’ incomes, and to react promptly and effectively when needed, giving farmers the option of combating this price volatility directly;

8.  Considers that the active farmers clause set out in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 ensures that any reputational risk associated with EU funds is eliminated; asks the Commission to ensure uniform application of the criteria of the active farmers clause with a view to the simplified but more reliable identification of these farmers; stresses the importance of active farmers fulfilling these criteria for the purposes of allocating EU funding;

9.  Stresses the need for further simplification of the CAP to go hand in hand with the budgetary resources required in order for it to realise its full potential and achieve key objectives and priorities;

10.  Insists that the initiatives targeting young farmers, which support innovation and generation renewal, should be maintained;

11.  Highlights the continuing imbalances in the food supply chain, in which the position of primary producers is considerably weaker than that of other actors; urges the Commission, therefore, to enhance the role of farmers in the food supply chain by incentivising the creation and strengthening of producer organisations and cooperatives, and fostering cooperation between producers and retailers, short supply chains, and quality local brands as a range of measures to tackle unfair trading practices, and by taking action to improve the transparency of prices and margins in the food supply chain; highlights Parliament’s position on unfair trading practices and recalls its repeated requests for EU legislation in this regard; stresses that clarification of the rules regarding producer organisations is essential for successful operation and use of the funds available;

12.  Welcomes the interest of producers, producer organisations and associations in the promotion policy adopted in Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014; notes, however, that stakeholders have expressed concern about the accessibility of the programmes, especially for SMEs in the sector; calls on the Commission to launch a thorough assessment of the promotion policy and to consider increasing its budget;

13.  Stresses Local Action Group (LAG) expertise in the organisation of rural development programmes; urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure the smooth implementation of the community-based approaches and requests the allocation of more comprehensive funding;

14.  Insists that a sufficient amount of resources are set aside for controls of the food supply chain, with a particular focus on trade relations and equal food nutrient content across the EU;

15.  Considers that opportunities offered by ‘smart’ solutions should be further analysed, exploited and promoted; highlights the fact that these ‘smart’ solutions should maintain coherence with environment, climate and biodiversity policy objectives, ensure close cooperation with relevant stakeholders from all Member States, and incentivise and support initiatives tailored to the needs of smallholdings without economies of scale so that they may benefit from new technologies; notes that integrated ‘smart’ solutions – such as smart villages, precision farming, digitalisation, the shared and circular economy, and social initiatives – can contribute to agriculture and overall well-being in rural areas; points out that consideration should be given to villages to ensure that rural areas are economically viable, desirable and environmentally sustainable places to live; welcomes existing and future projects that are targeting ‘smart’ solutions; urges the Commission to plan funding for ‘smart’ approaches in the light of the CAP reform and the Cork 2.0 Declaration; asks that funds earmarked for research and innovation in the agri-food sector remain fully available;

16.  Believes that, given their proven environmental benefits and increased agricultural efficiency, financial support for the further uptake of smart and innovate solutions in the agricultural sector is required;

17.  Welcomes the creation of new market observatories for crops and sugar; recognises the Commission’s efforts to continue the reform with a view to further boosting the fruit and vegetable sector; considers that producer groups and a potential observatory covering this sector, together with those covering the milk and meat sectors, might be beneficial in providing accurate, timely information; notes that market observatories could make agricultural markets more transparent by providing a more precise overview of sectors;

18.  Highlights the importance of pilot projects to the agricultural and rural development sectors in recent years; asks for continued support, especially for those ongoing projects that have proved very successful, for sufficient attention to be paid to the dissemination of best practices and lessons learned, and for the mainstreaming of successful approaches; calls on the Commission to carry out an ex-post evaluation of the efficiency and benefits of those pilot projects and preparatory actions;

19.  Recognises the role of financial resources in alleviating any impact of price volatility; notes also that a sector-specific income stabilisation tool based on a mutual fund is an appropriate approach; insists further that some specific agricultural sub-sectors and initiatives, such as bee-keeping and the school milk and fruit programmes, should remain in focus;

20.  Asks that sufficient funds be earmarked for research and EU veterinary and phyto-sanitary actions; stresses that the current appropriation of EUR 20 million budgeted for veterinary and phyto-sanitary actions may not be sufficient to cover an increased number of epidemics such as, among others, avian influenza, African swine fever, lumpy skin disease, fresh outbreaks of Xylella fastidiosa, and invasions of Vespa velutina and Tecia solanivora; notes that other risk management tools should also be maintained in case of environmental incidents, market related hazards or revenue variations; asks that current marketing standards be updated to prevent unnecessary financial losses for producers;

21.  Insists on the need to set aside funding to compensate for the economic losses suffered by farmers as a result of market crises and sanitary or phyto-sanitary crises such as Xylella fastidiosa, and reiterates the need to use the available margins under Heading 2 in cooperation with Heading 3 to this effect; insists that compensation for eradication should also cover the rehabilitation of agro-ecosystems, including healthy living soils, and the establishment of robust biological diversity, especially by ensuring the genetic diversity of the planting stock and ideally its resistance to or tolerance of the disease or pest in question, so that agro-ecosystems are less susceptible to future attacks;

22.  Considers that the impact of Brexit and the continuing Russian embargo on the agricultural market must be taken into account;

23.  Points out that Brexit could have a significant financial impact on the future MFF; points out, moreover, that the CAP, which is a common European policy primarily financed from the EU budget, could face a greater financial impact than other policies, bearing in mind that state aid may only be granted to a very limited extent; insists, therefore, that the CAP budget be reviewed and that consideration be given to the possibility of an increase in the CAP budget to take account of market failures and crises.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

30.5.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

31

0

3

Members present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Eric Andrieu, Daniel Buda, Matt Carthy, Viorica Dăncilă, Michel Dantin, Paolo De Castro, Albert Deß, Herbert Dorfmann, Norbert Erdős, Edouard Ferrand, Luke Ming Flanagan, Beata Gosiewska, Martin Häusling, Esther Herranz García, Jan Huitema, Peter Jahr, Ivan Jakovčić, Jarosław Kalinowski, Elisabeth Köstinger, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Philippe Loiseau, Ulrike Müller, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, Bronis Ropė, Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Tibor Szanyi, Marc Tarabella, Marco Zullo

Substitutes present for the final vote

Bas Belder, Franc Bogovič, Hannu Takkula

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

31

+

ALDE

Ulrike Müller, Hannu Takkula

ECR

Bas Belder, Beata Gosiewska, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk

EFDD

Marco Zullo

ENF

Edouard Ferrand, Philippe Loiseau

GUE/NGL

Matt Carthy, Luke Ming Flanagan

PPE

Franc Bogovič, Daniel Buda, Michel Dantin, Albert Deß, Herbert Dorfmann, Norbert Erdős, Esther Herranz García, Peter Jahr, Jarosław Kalinowski, Elisabeth Köstinger, Marijana Petir

S&D

Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Eric Andrieu, Paolo De Castro, Viorica Dăncilă, Maria Noichl, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Tibor Szanyi, Marc Tarabella

Verts/ALE

Martin Häusling, Bronis Ropė

0

-

3

0

ALDE

Jan Huitema

EFDD

John Stuart Agnew

GUE/NGL

Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education (31.5.2017)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget

(2017/2043(BUD))

Rapporteur: Morten Løkkegaard

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Deplores the fact that the EUR 200 million top-up for Erasmus+ proposed under the MFF revision for 2017-2020 has been reduced by the Council to EUR 100 million, with EUR 50 million already allocated in 2017; recalls that these funds should be used in the policy framework for which they have been attributed, as Erasmus+ remains the main strategic investment in Europe’s young people;

2.  Notes that the proposed funding for the new Solidarity Corps draws heavily on Erasmus+ (around EUR 58 million in 2017), Europe for Citizens (around EUR 3.5 million a year), and the Employment and Social Innovation programme (14.2 million a year); notes, furthermore, that the distinction between the volunteering and occupational strands is not clear, and that there is therefore a risk of jeopardising the effectiveness of the existing European Voluntary Service (EVS) programme; insists that new initiatives require a new legal basis and clear policy design, and must be coordinated with other programmes; stresses that the future rollout of the Solidarity Corps must not undermine funding for priority education and culture programmes; stresses, furthermore, that the initiative does not provide a clear distinction between volunteering activities and job placements that would avoid any substitution of potential quality jobs with unpaid volunteering;

3.  Notes, in the context of new societal challenges for Europe, the need to strengthen a European approach to facing common European challenges by supporting large-scale innovation projects in the field of education, training and youth carried out by European civil society networks; points out that this could be done by allocating part of the overall Erasmus+ funding of Key Action 2 (Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices) to centralised actions;

4.  Notes the need to increase the operational support to European networks under Key Action 3 (Support for policy reform) in order to maximise the promotion and dissemination of the opportunities offered by Erasmus+;

5.  Recognises the role of grassroots sports in spreading the core European values of civic engagement, democracy, participation, human rights, volunteering and equality; calls for greater synergies between the fields of culture and sport and the EU’s external programmes; calls, in particular, for these programmes to include initiatives and budget lines for cultural and sporting activities, including grassroots sport and its role in external relations; calls for maintaining the sports chapter of the Erasmus+ programme and the financing of Special Annual Events;

6.  Welcomes the initiatives taken by the Commission in creating, under Erasmus+ and Creative Europe, a special call for projects dealing with refugees; calls on the Commission to evaluate and to continue to put forward these calls for proposals with an increased funding capacity, which would cover more needs and enable a forward-looking policy for the next MFF period;

7.  Underlines that both the Culture sub-programme under Creative Europe and the Europe for Citizens programme continue to have low project success rates (11 % and 16 % respectively in 2016), causing frustration among applicants and hampering programme functioning; calls for more funds to be allocated to these programmes in 2018 in order to ensure effective delivery; welcomes the efforts made by the EU institutions in recent years to address the payments backlog; points out that delays in finalising contracts between the relevant bodies and beneficiaries, as well as late payments, jeopardise full implementation of the programmes by the Commission;

8.  Calls for greater synergies between culture and education programmes and EFSI and the ESI Funds, in particular the ESF; calls on the EIB to consider allocating a greater share of EFSI funding to cultural and creative industries (CCIs), as they can disseminate more and better than other sectors information about funding opportunities provided by EFSI; urges the Commission to promote the interaction between the Cultural and Creative Sector Guarantee Facility and EFSI in order to provide fit-for-purpose loans for cultural and creative industries and support the cultural and creative sector, thereby driving growth; welcomes the EFSI 2.0 proposal to enhance the role of the European Investment Advisory Hub, and notes its significant potential as a source of information on the potential pooling of EU funds and the creation of investment platforms, which can lead to more balanced sectoral and geographical coverage;

9.  Welcomes the agreement reached on the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) 2018, with a budget of EUR 7 million in 2018, 4 million of which is fresh money; reiterates that funding for the EYCH must have no negative impact on Creative Europe, in line with the Council and Commission statements, or on Europe for Citizens;

10.  Recalls the excellent work done by Euranet+, the importance of the independent news coverage of EU affairs provided by this pan-European radio network, and its proven track record in better informing EU citizens; welcomes the positive efforts towards a provisional solution for its continuation; encourages the Commission to ensure the sustainability of this network beyond 2018, by securing a multiannual funding arrangement for the following years reflected in its own budget line and its inclusion in the scope of the next MFF;

11.  Points to the potential of pilot projects and preparatory actions as a means of testing out measures in EU policy areas and introducing new innovative initiatives that might become long-term EU measures; notes the success of the New Narrative for Europe, now in its final year as a preparatory action; stresses that this initiative has proven its worth, fostering debate and fresh thinking among young people on the challenges facing the EU; calls, in light of those challenges, for the initiative to be continued through the Youth strand of Erasmus+;

12.  Recalls that the Youth Guarantee scheme and the Youth Employment Initiative are key tools to address the persistent problem of high levels of youth unemployment, and calls for their continued improvement as well as for a substantial budget increase; takes note of the conclusions of the European Court of Auditors’ report on the Youth Guarantee; points out that more investments, growth-enhancing structural reforms and coordination in social policies are needed to support quality transitions of young people into the labour market in a sustainable way;

13.  Welcomes the permanent development of the LUX Prize towards a model based on the participation of all EU citizens, as well as the first year of functioning of the House of European History and the success of the Parlamentarium, which has surpassed expectations; calls for a multiannual funding base for what are all excellent tools for communicating with EU citizens;

14.  Recalls the decision taken by Parliament within the 2017 EP budget procedure, which establishes the creation of an ‘interpretation in International Sign Language’ service for all plenary debates, and calls upon the administration to implement this decision with no further delay;

15.  Stresses that, in order to address the chronically low success rates of some EU programmes that are caused by underfunding and to provide for a counter-cyclical function of the EU budget, a system of genuine and consistent own resources must be put in place for the post-2020 MFF.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

30.5.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

2

4

Members present for the final vote

Andrea Bocskor, Nikolaos Chountis, Silvia Costa, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Petra Kammerevert, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, John Procter, Michaela Šojdrová, Helga Trüpel, Sabine Verheyen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Theodoros Zagorakis, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver, Krystyna Łybacka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Dietmar Köster, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Morten Løkkegaard, Martina Michels, Remo Sernagiotto

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Josep-Maria Terricabras, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

20

+

ALDE

PPE

 

S&D

 

Verts/ALE

María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Morten Løkkegaard

Andrea Bocskor, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Sabine Verheyen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Theodoros Zagorakis, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver, Michaela Šojdrová

Silvia Costa, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Petra Kammerevert, Dietmar Köster, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, Krystyna Łybacka

 

Josep-Maria Terricabras, Helga Trüpel

2

-

ECR

John Procter, Remo Sernagiotto

4

0

ECR

GUE/NGL

Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

Nikolaos Chountis, Martina Michels

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (9.6.2017)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget

(2017/2043(BUD))

Rapporteur: Constance Le Grip

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A.  whereas, according to Articles 2 and 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), equality between women and men is a founding value of the EU and one of its aims, and according to Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Union shall promote equality between women and men in all its activities; whereas gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting are important tools in the integration of this principle into EU policies, measures, actions and development programmes with a view to promoting the active involvement of women in the labour market and economic and social activities, as well as to combating discrimination;

B.  whereas it is essential that, in the implementation of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme, Daphne retains as high a profile as possible; whereas the Commission must take into consideration the need to maintain sufficient funding levels and ensure the continuity of actions and predictability of funding in all areas covered by the specific objectives; whereas a larger budget should be available for combating violence against women, as one in three women in the EU has experienced gender-based violence;

C.  whereas enhancing the competitiveness of the EU economy, infrastructure, well-funded research, support for developing skills and the continued commitment of the EU to strengthening investment are key to ensuring sustainable growth and quality job creation; whereas women’s and girls’ potential must be further increased in the field of the digitalised economy and in the STEM and ICT sectors in order to achieve true gender equality, overcome gender stereotypes and contribute to the growth and innovation of the economy;

D.  whereas health is a precondition for economic prosperity and whereas efficient spending on health can promote growth; whereas coordinated policies and initiatives at EU level to combat health inequalities and promote gender equality should include action to eliminate inequalities in access to sexual and reproductive health care services;

E.  whereas access to public services is crucial for women’s economic independence and empowerment, while public services remain an important employment sector for women;

1.  Recalls that gender mainstreaming is a legal obligation stemming directly from the Treaties; calls for the enforcement of gender budgeting within the budgetary procedure and for budgetary expenditure to be used as an effective tool for promoting equality between women and men; recommends developing a budget plan for implementing gender mainstreaming in the EU institutions, as per the adopted pilot project, and including in the future a specific budget line for managing the coordination of gender mainstreaming throughout the EU institutions;

2.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to counter the impact of the gag rule by significantly increasing financing for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), in particular funding explicitly destined to ensure access to birth control and safe and legal abortion, using both national and EU development funding, in order to fill the financing gap left after the Trump administration’s moves to cease funding all overseas aid organisations that provide SRHR services;

3.  Calls for increased resources in order to realise women’s economic rights and reduce gender inequality, including through the use of the existing instruments at EU and Member State level, such as gender impact assessments; calls for gender budgeting to be used for public expenditure to ensure equality between women and men and remove all gender inequalities;

4.  Emphasises that under Article 8 of the TFEU the promotion of equality between men and women is a fundamental principle of the European Union; recalls that the issue of gender equality should be incorporated into all policies and addressed at all levels of the budgetary process;

5.  Repeats its call for each specific objective of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme, also with a view to preparing the next MFF, to have a separate budget line in order to increase transparency regarding use of the funds and to ensure the necessary funding for each of the specific objectives and for their visibility;

6.  Calls for the adoption of gender budgeting in European strategies for more effective promotion of gender equality; highlights the need to earmark increased funding for the fight against all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls;

7.  Calls on the Member States to make use of the funds available under the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund to promote gender equality, particularly in the field of employment, not merely by implementing gender mainstreaming, but also by implementing measures aimed directly at disadvantaged groups of women, taking due account of the impact of the economic crisis, investing in high-quality services and, specifically, guaranteeing adequate provision of high-quality services at affordable prices for childcare, care for the elderly and care of other dependent persons, and calls for genuine budgetary transparency in respect of the funds (ESF, Progress, Daphne) allocated to gender equality policies;

8.  Calls on the EU to promote women’s rights and gender equality under EU development aid, through education, health services (notably SRHR), the empowerment of girls, and women’s political representation;

9.  Calls for funding to be allocated to programmes supporting women’s entrepreneurship, including SMEs created and led by women, as part of the COSME programme, and ensuring and encouraging access for women to loans and equity finance;

10.  Highlights the need to attract more women into the STEM and ICT sectors; underlines the need to finance programmes that provide quality education and training to women and girls and raise their awareness about the possibilities offered in the STEM and ICT sectors, as part of Horizon 2020, Erasmus +, the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative;

11.  Deplores the fact that the European Fund for Strategic Investments does not include a gender perspective and stresses that a successful recovery process is not possible without addressing the impact of the crises on women;

12.  Stresses the important role of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in contributing to and strengthening the promotion of gender equality, including gender mainstreaming all Union policies and collecting relevant data and expertise in the area of gender equality, including combating violence against women and girls; stresses that in order to adequately fulfil its objectives, the EIGE should remain a separate dedicated entity within the EU institutional framework; calls for its budget and staff establishment plan to be increased in order to adequately strengthen its capacity to assist the Commission by providing relevant data and technical assistance in priority areas, such as combating gender-based violence;

13.  Calls on the Commission to include the promotion and improvement of SRHR in its next Public Health Strategy.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

8.6.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

14

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Malin Björk, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Antanas Guoga, Anna Hedh, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Florent Marcellesi, Angelika Mlinar, Ernest Urtasun, Jana Žitňanská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Branislav Škripek, Dubravka Šuica

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Patricija Šulin

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

14

+

ALDE

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Angelika Mlinar

EFDD

Daniela Aiuto

GUE/NGL

Malin Björk

PPE

Antanas Guoga, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Dubravka Šuica, Patricija Šulin

S&D

Inés Ayala Sender, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Anna Hedh, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández

VERTS/ALE

Florent Marcellesi, Ernest Urtasun

2

-

ECR

Branislav Škripek, Jana Žitňanská

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Letter of 19 June 2017 from David McAllister, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Cristian Dan Preda, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, to Jean Arthuis, Chair of the Committee on Budgets

Translation

Subject:  AFET contribution to the report on the mandate for the budgetary trilogue

Dear Chair,

We wish to inform you about the priorities of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) for the 2018 EU budget, in view of your Committee’s report on the mandate for the July trilogue.

First of all, we would like to express our concern that the Draft Budget figures for Heading 4 expenditure (Global Europe), which amount to over half a billion euro decrease in both commitment and payment appropriations, do not correspond to the pressing needs for stronger action in the EU's neighbourhood and beyond. Reinforced EU external action, with appropriate resources allocated to it, continues to be absolutely key for a sustainable and effective response to many urgent challenges the Union is facing, including security threats and the migration and refugee crisis, defined as a priority for the 2017 budget.

We are aware of the notable increase in 2017, going beyond the ceiling of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for Heading 4. However, this one-year increase can hardly be considered sufficient and the effort needs to be sustained. In this light, we cannot agree with leaving a margin of over EUR 230 million in 2018. While our committee stresses the need for flexibility in deploying resources in order to enhance the EU's crisis response capacity, this must not come at the cost of existing priority areas of the External Financing Instruments and long-term policies. The margin should therefore be allocated and the necessary flexibility should be ensured through the available mechanisms of the revised MFF.

Supporting candidate countries and potential candidate countries in adopting and implementing political, economic and social reforms in view of their accession should in our opinion continue to be a priority for the EU. Recent political developments in the Western Balkans are increasingly worrying and require the Union's urgent attention to avoid that the progress achieved in the past decades is put into question. For this reason, while we welcome a performance based approach, we do not agree with the proposed cut of almost EUR 90 million for support for political reforms in Western Balkans countries under the Instrument for Pre-Accession assistance (IPA), which reduces the funding available by close to a third.

Ensuring that sufficient support is provided to the countries in the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, equally remains a key political priority for AFET. In this context, we fully support the pledge of the April 2017 Brussels Conference for increased assistance in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. However, given the strategic importance of the neighbourhood, we consider it crucial that the planned contribution of EUR 250 million from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) in 2018 is fully compensated by a corresponding reinforcement and that an overall decrease of resources for ENI is thus avoided. We also believe that the EU should maintain its pivotal role in supporting the Middle East Peace Process, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA.

In view of the dynamic developments of the security and humanitarian situation in the world, it is essential that EU crisis response mechanisms are not weakened, but on the contrary reinforced. It is therefore vital that, following the ill-advised cut in 2017, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) returns to its former levels and is further strengthened in view of its possible new tasks in 2018. The Draft Budget figures are reassuring in this respect and we would consider them as a good basis for the budgetary negotiations.

The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) budget funding civilian crisis management missions is of equal importance in this sense, contributing to the building of peace and security around the world, and we would ask you to safeguard it. Furthermore, the AFET committee would like to stress the need to further reinforce the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), including its support of election observation.

At a time when cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns are increasingly used to undermine the democratic order in countries in the EU's neighbourhood as well as in the EU itself, we also consider it of utmost importance to make sure that significant resources are secured to counter these threats.

Finally, regarding the administrative budget of the European External Action Service, we regret that last year's proposal to transfer the budget line for EU Special Representatives from the CFSP budget to the EEAS, in line with the conclusions of the EEAS Review of 2013, was not adopted. We would consider it appropriate to put this issue back on the table, since such a move would contribute to the further consolidation of the EU's diplomatic activities, as well as generate savings, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of EU foreign policy.

We would be very grateful if the suggestions of our committee were taken into account in the budgetary negotiations.

Yours sincerely,

David McAllister      Cristian Dan Preda

Copy:  Mr Siegfried Mureșan, Rapporteur for the 2018 EU budget


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Committee on International Trade

EXPO-COM-INTA D(2017)24538

Mr Muresan

Rapporteur for the 2018 Budget

Committee on Budgets

Subject: Mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 Draft Budget

As Rapporteur of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) for the 2018 Budget, I would like to inform you about INTA's priorities for the 2018 Budget, as agreed by the Coordinators of the INTA Committee on 20 March 2017.

Firstly, INTA is of the opinion that the European Union’s budget should underpin with sufficient financial means the fact that the Commission defines trade as one of the top priorities in its work programme. Trade is not only a powerful instrument for creating growth and jobs in Europe but also an important foreign policy tool, promoting the European values abroad. Trade is also a tool to stabilise the geopolitical situation in nearby countries by bringing a better future prospect, new markets to local producers and a source of foreign direct investment

In order to deal with the trade challenges resulting from the shifting geopolitical landscape, the Common Commercial Policy is expected to become even stronger in the future. US trade policy may generate a useful window of opportunity in different regions. Furthermore, the EU's momentum of trade negotiations remains very ambitious: the modernization of agreements with several Latin American countries and Turkey, undergoing negotiations with Mercosur, Japan, Indonesia an Investment Agreement with China, ACP countries, trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), WTO works among other issues. The current and upcoming negotiations will continue to require a lot of resources from the services of the European Commission, mostly in DG Trade. The budget for trade activities must therefore be sufficiently increased so that the EU is in a position to successfully negotiate its ambitious trade agenda.

However, it must be noted that trade agreements do not finish with their conclusion. Certainly, the EU would stand to gain from allocating sufficient resources for interim and ex post assessments of the compliance of third countries with their commitments towards the EU and regarding other policy issues linked to trade agreements such as human and labour rights implementation. These assessments should become a prominent part of the budgetary lines linked to trade activities since they will show the effectiveness of the Trade policy as a whole.

Trade-Related Assistance as defined by EU “Aid for Trade” is another important tool to support partner countries' efforts to develop and expand their trade as leverage for growth and poverty reduction.

Members of INTA are concerned that some Union citizens equate globalisation with falling European output and job losses. To get these citizens back on board, the Commission needs to invest more to develop a more effective communication strategy such as EU Trade and Investment Strategy “Trade for All” on the Union’s trade policy as well as the advantages of international trade.

In this context we would like to underline that full use should be made of all available EU funds to boost SME’s internationalization. SME’s have the lion’s share of EU total employment and this effort will help reducing unemployment and bolstering social cohesion within the EU. These tools are already existing so an exercise of assessment and improvement of them would be welcome.

Finally, it must be noted that one of the EU major challenges remains the control of our borders. Therefore, INTA continues to emphasise that the European Neighbouring Policy should be allocated with sufficient budgetary resources so that adequate trade-related technical support and assistance can be made available to our close partners, especially those in the Eastern Partnership as well as the post-Arab-Spring countries. In particular, regarding these countries INTA insists that the importance of the Macro-Financial Assistance program needs to be reflected in the Union's budget as it has proved to be an extremely useful instrument for showing support to partners in dire financial situations.

Yours sincerely,

Reimer BÖGE


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETARY CONTROL

Committee on Budgetary Control

The Chair

IPOL-COM-CONT D(2017)22966

Mr Jean Arthuis

Chair of Committee on Budgets

European Parliament

Brussels

Subject:  Contribution on behalf of the Committee on Budgetary Control as regards the Mandate for the budgetary trilogue as to the budget 2018

Dear Mr Arthuis,

The Committee on Budgetary Control calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to bear in mind the following concerns in its mandate for the budgetary trilogue

1.  The Committee takes note that by the end of 2016 the abnormal backlog was fully phased out in line with the payment plan agreed with the Parliament and the Council in 2015 and that for the first time since 2010 the appropriations available were more than sufficient to cover existing need.

2.  The Committee is however very concerned by the fact that by the end of 2016 the RAL increased significantly to reach EUR 238 Billion and that the increase of over EUR 21 Billion compared to 2015 was twice as high as initially expected; points out that this state of play is largely due to the very low level of submission of Member States’ payment claims for 2014-2020.

3.  The Committee stresses that this situation may indeed undermine the effectiveness of the European structural and investment funds as in some Member States the unclaimed contribution together with required co-financing exceeds 15 % of the total general government expenditure when the last two financial framework periods, 2007-2013 and 2014-2020, are taken into account.

4.  The Committee points out, in this regard, that by the end of 2015 five Member States: the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Poland and Romania accounted for more than half of the unused commitment appropriations for structural funds that have not led to payments for the programming period 2007-2013.

5.  The Committee deeply regrets that, as a consequence, there is a risk that delays in budget execution for the 2014-2020 programming period will be greater than those experienced for the 2007-2013 period and fears that the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework might start with an unprecedented high level of RAL.

6.  The Committee welcomes that the payment plan adopted in March 2015 has improved the short term cash-flow management but insists that dealing with the high level of outstanding commitment requires a longer term perspective and a thorough evaluation of the root causes in order to devise an effective strategy so that they do not occur in the future.

7.  The Committee stresses that the triggering of article 50 of the Treaty on European Union might create troubles in the way the Union budget is managed, especially concerning the payments and points out the need to address this crucial issue in any transitional or final agreement with any withdrawing Member State. The Committee invites the Commission to present an Article 50 exit bill, as well as an explanation of the method for calculating this bill.

8.  The Committee requests that the Commission take measures to strictly observe the rules and timetables regarding outstanding commitments including:

•  closure and de-commitment of the 2007-2013 programmes;

•  proper use of net correction in cohesion;

•  a reduction of cash held by fiduciaries;

•  the compilation of payment plans and forecasts where outstanding commitments are significant; and

•  recovering of unused cash balances in financial instruments under shared management and remaining unused funds in indirect management from previous multiannual financial Framework for which the eligibility period has expired.

9.  The Committee requests that as a matter of urgency the Commission consider in its budgetary and financial management the capacity constraints and the specific socio-economic conditions of the Member States in difficulty and demands once again that the Commission establish annually an updated long-term cash flow forecast spanning a seven-to-ten year time horizon, covering budgetary ceilings, payments needs, capacity constraints and potential de commitments in order to better match the payments needs and funds available.

Yours sincerely,

Ingeborg Gräβle     Joachim Zeller

CONT Chairman    Rapporteur for the Commission discharge


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

The Chair

D(2017)20505

Mr Siegfried Mureşan

General rapporteur for the 2018 Budget

Committee on Budgets

ASP 07F158

Brussels

Dear Mr Mureşan,

In accordance with the decision taken by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee on 8 June 2017, both as ENVI Chair and as Standing Rapporteur for the Budget, I would like to provide you with our recommendations on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 Draft Budget.

On a general level, I would like to reiterate, on behalf of the ENVI Committee, our strong conviction that climate and resource efficiency mainstreaming is of horizontal importance to all EU policies in achieving the goals set by the Europe 2020 strategy. The EU budget must support the fulfilment of the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and only an appropriate level of financial support will help bring about climate change mitigation, and the transition towards a circular, low-carbon economy. Furthermore, European-funded projects should not have a negative impact on this transition. In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the very disappointing recent findings of the European Court of Auditors that show that there is a serious risk of falling short of meeting the spending target of at least 20 % of the EU budget on climate-related action between 2014 and 2020. I would therefore like to stress that every effort should be made to reach this target.

Furthermore, on behalf of the ENVI Committee, I would like to call for adequate financing to be allocated in the 2018 budget to ensuring the long-term protection of biodiversity across the EU. The tracking methodology for biodiversity spending and the mainstreaming of biodiversity protection in the budget should also be improved.

Moreover, in their efforts to recover from the economic crisis, Member States should view environment and climate-friendly policies, as well as measures and projects, as an opportunity to improve public health and promote green job creation and economic growth among SMEs. Health is a value in itself and a prerequisite for promoting EU-wide growth.

The environment, climate change, public health, civil protection, consumer protection and food and feed safety are all key concerns for EU citizens. Therefore, I would like to emphasise that the ceilings as agreed in the Multiannual Financial Framework should be fully respected, and that any change that would reduce the budgetary programming for the respective budget lines must be firmly rejected. I would also like to stress the importance of the LIFE and Health for Growth programmes, as well as the Union Civil protection mechanism. Furthermore, smaller programmes must not be sidelined in favour of those more in the public and political focus.

Moreover, I would like to underline that we are particularly concerned about the budget constraints affecting the EU decentralised agencies falling under the remit of our Committee, given that their tasks and duties are constantly growing. These agencies must be allocated more financial and human resources, where appropriate, in order to fulfil their mandate and execute their tasks. We are seriously concerned that most of the agencies have absorbed significant staff cuts in recent years, regardless of their increased workload. Therefore, we strongly support a case-by-case approach in assessing the individual needs of the decentralised agencies.

Finally, the ENVI Committee calls on the anticipation of the possible budgetary implications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, on the agencies under its remit (in particular, on the European Medicines Agency), and on EU funds and programmes in the fields of environment, public health and food safety.

I have sent a similar letter to Mr Jean Arthuis, Chair of the Committee on Budgets.

Yours sincerely,

Adina-Ioana Vălean


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

The Chair

Mr Jean ARTHUIS

Chair

Committee on Budget (BUDG)

European Parliament

D(2017)25513

AA/lw

Strasbourg,

Subject:  ITRE priorities for the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 Draft Budget

Dear Chair,

As ITRE Chair and draftsperson for the 2018 budget and in view of the upcoming budgetary trilogue, I would hereby like to inform you about the priorities of the ITRE Committee for the 2018 budget.

For the beginning, I would like to thank the 2018 Budget Rapporteur, Mr Siegfried Mureşan, for the fruitful exchange of views with ITRE Members on 25 April 2017, as well as for useful procedural information that we have received from the BUDG Secretariat over the past months.

On 15 March 2017 the European Parliament adopted its resolution on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2018 Budget (2016/2323(BUD)). On behalf of the ITRE Committee, I have examined the general guidelines for the preparation of the 2018 budget and I am pleased to see that the main priorities of the ITRE Committee for the 2018 budget that were highlighted during the exchange of views on 25 April 2017 are already well outlined.

The ITRE Committee fully agrees that the EU budget shall deliver concrete answers to the challenges the EU is facing, and that the EU budget remains an important part of the solution to these issues. This is particularly true for investments in research and innovation, where insufficient funding for Horizon 2020 has resulted in a low success rate for applications. It is alarming that an ever larger number of high quality proposals scoring above the threshold in the project proposal evaluation cannot be funded - merely about one in four high quality proposals submitted was selected for funding. As the lowest funding rates of high quality proposals are found in the “Future and Emerging Technologies”, in the SME Instrument, as well as in inclusive, innovative and reflective societies, the ITRE committee appreciates the increase in the respective budget lines for the budget 2018.

The ITRE Committee further welcomes the increase in the budget for the majority of societal challenges under Horizon 2020.

The Committee takes note of the proposed increase for the Preparatory Action for defence and security cooperation, and underlines that the mentioned research window under the post-2020 MFF needs additional funding as it is a new political initiative with a significant impact on the EU budget; this initiative should not be realised at the expense of the existing research funds.

The ITRE Committee also underlines the importance of funding for the final stages of research so that laboratory scientific innovations can develop into commercial businesses. We also appreciate your focus on the success of the younger generation; therefore we also call on the Commission to provide new increased levels of support for young researchers, in particular by allocating appropriate funding to early-stage researchers.

The COSME programme has proved its usefulness, and we very much welcome the support of your committee for the increase of COSME appropriations, as SMEs are an important part of the European economy and provide a high number of employments within the EU.

In the area of energy policy, the ITRE Committee recalls that a greater priority shall be given to areas of the budget defined for completing the Internal Energy Market and building a low-carbon economy in order to accomplish the goals of the Energy Union and the European climate goals. For that purpose, it is necessary to provide adequate funds to projects of common interest aimed at ensuring the diversification of energy sources and routes and the connectivity of gas and power networks, as well as additional funds for EFSI technical assistance in order to aggregate and generate projects on smart grids, energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

For that reason, as well as for enhancing the interconnection of our energy, transport and digital networks, the ITRE Committee acknowledges the importance of the CEF, and hence welcomes the increase in its budget for 2018.

Due to the underlined importance of Horizon 2020 and CEF, the ITRE Committee would nonetheless suggest to restore the original annual profile of the budget lines for these programmes that have been cut for the provisioning of the EFSI Guarantee Fund. This increase could be financed by the use of all financial means available under the existing MFF-Regulation. In this context, the ITRE Committee would like to recall Parliament’s commitment during the EFSI negotiations to reduce as much as possible the negative impact on these two programmes, whose financial envelopes suffered important cuts compared to the Commission proposal already during the MFF 2014-2020 negotiations

We are also concerned that the extension of EFSI, while acknowledging it as a highly successful instrument, and linked to that, the increase of 2 billion Euro in guarantee, may again weaken Horizon 2020 and CEF. We hence urge the rapporteur to defend these programmes.

In view of the Union's decentralised agencies with substantial executive tasks to accomplish EU policy objectives within the ITRE's field of responsibility, we believe that the 5% cut in staff, as well as the redeployment pool should be ended in 2018. The ITRE Committee is concerned that the amounts indicated in the Commission’s draft 2018 budget do not meet the actual funding needs of the ACER Agency. We therefore underline the need to secure appropriate funding and staff for ACER, due to the new tasks conferred to it by the legislative authority. Furthermore, while the budgetary appropriations for the GNSS Agency have been increased, the number of additional posts for GNSS Agency remains insufficient to fulfil the new tasks conferred to it by the legislation.

Particular attention in 2018 Budget shall also be paid to the new legislative initiatives such as the WIFI4EU, for which a budget line was created only last year. In this regard, the ITRE Committee much appreciates the fact that the reinforcements provided by the mid-term revision of the MFF 2014-2020 were already integrated in the 2018 draft budget and insists on keeping the commitment to invest 120 million EUR in WIFI4EU initiative between 2017 and 2019.

The ITRE committee also takes note of the increase in the budget 2018 for nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes. Whilst recognising the need for European financial assistance for decommissioning, the ITRE Committee regrets the delays in this process. We would therefore welcome a cautious and well-analysed increase of the respective budget lines.

Finally, the ITRE Committee is pleased to see that the Parliament's resolution on general guidelines for the 2018 Budget has reiterated previous calls for providing the EU budget with an adequate level of payment appropriations. The Union's failure to deliver on its legal and political commitments on payment appropriations can seriously harm its reliability and we truly appreciate your continuous efforts to solve this problem.

We would be very grateful if the BUDG Committee could take these considerations into account in the preparation of its report on the mandate for the trilogue and we look forward to continuing the cooperation between our committees throughout the whole 2018 budgetary cycle.

Yours sincerely,

(signed)

Jerzy Buzek

cc: Mr Siegfried Mureşan, 2018 Budget Rapporteur


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES

Letter of 27 April 2017 from Alain Cadec, Chair of the Committee on Fisheries, to Siegfried Mureşan, General Rapporteur for the 2018 Budget

Subject:  PECH Committee priorities for the 2018 Commission Budget

Dear colleague,

The Committee on Fisheries has decided to inform the Committee on Budgets on our views and priorities for the 2018 Commission budget through written procedure and in the format of a letter adopted during our last Committee meeting of 25th April 2017.

The Committee on Fisheries takes note of the Council position that the budget for 2018 and corrective budgetary tools shall strictly respect the relevant ceilings in accordance with the multiannual financial framework (MFF) Regulation for the period 2014-2020. Council expresses the need to leave sufficient margins under the ceilings, in order to be able to deal with unforeseen events.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) financial resources are concentrated in Section III and Title 11: ‘Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the compulsory contributions to Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and Sustainable Fisheries Agreements.

The Committee on Fisheries considers that the following priorities should be incorporated in the Mandate for trilogue :

1. The Committee on Fisheries expresses its concern in relation to the Council statement (that the budget for 2018 and corrective budgetary tools shall strictly respect the relevant ceilings in accordance with the multiannual financial framework (MFF) Regulation for the period 2014 – 2020).

The EMFF budget should not be financing new initiatives to the detriment of existing Union programmes and policies. EFSI related appropriations concerning the EMFF, Horizon 2020 and Competitiveness of Enterprises of Small and Medium size cannot be affected by budgetary reductions, in order to allow the funds to accomplish their objectives. The Council reiteration of the need to leave sufficient margins under the ceilings, in order to be able to deal with unforeseen events, is not realistic to cope with possible new and unforeseen actions in the near future.

Taking into account that more than 60% of the supply of fisheries products to the EU comes from international waters and the Exclusive Economic Zones of Third countries, adequate and reliable budgetary provisions must be calculated in the annual budget for 2018, particularly due to the foreseen renewal of the Protocols with Morocco, Cape Verde, Ivory   Coast, Sao Tome and Principe and Madagascar.

2. Draws attention to the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the EU which will impact on the 2014-2020 MFF. The Committee on Fisheries underlines that Brexit obliges to give the utmost importance to the process leading up to the establishment of a new financial budgetary framework. A higher degree of additional flexibility of the EU budget is indispensable for attaining the Union’s objectives.

The United Kingdom exit from the EU would imply a loss of access to remarkable fisheries resources, with important repercussions on the fishing industry and the composition of the European fleet. The Committee on Fisheries draws attention to the fact that there are coastal communities where around 65% of employment depends on the fisheries sector; urges to take appropriate and urgent financial measures to guarantee the economic and social cohesion of this areas taking into account of Brexit negotiations.

The Committee on Fisheries expresses serious doubts that the current financial resources available for the fisheries sector could address satisfactorily this situation.

Kind regards,

Alain CADEC


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

The Chairman

IPOL-COM-LIBE D (2017)19959        D 308218      19.05.2017

Mr Jean Arthuis

Chair of the Committee on Budgets

ASP 09G205

Subject:   LIBE Priorities for the Draft Budget 2018

Dear Chair,

I am writing to you in reference the LIBE Committee priorities regarding the negotiation of the Draft Budget 2018.

The LIBE Committee welcomes the recent agreement on the MFF mid-term review and the increased flexibility that might result from it in the execution the 2018 Budget, as outlined by the European Commission in its related statement. We welcome the agreement in principle to top-up Heading 3 by an amount of 2.55 billion above its ceiling over the period 2018-2020. We would like to point out, however, that this amount was established based on all known legislative proposals at the end of 2016, including the financial impact of the revision of the Dublin legislation (about 460 million euros/year) which has not been adopted to date (May 2017), and that new proposals have been issued by the Commission since.

Moreover, a number of new financial needs not accounted in this envelope of 2.55 billion euros may be outstanding in relation to further policy developments in the field of Justice and Home Affairs. Together with possible unforeseeable events over the remaining period of the MFF, it is therefore possible that the amount of 2.55 billion euros would be insufficient.

As a reminder, just for 2017, the flexibility instrument and the contingency margin have been mobilised for an amount of 1.7 billion euros to top up the ceiling of Heading 3 accordingly, so 2.55 billion euros over the period 2018-2020 might require significant prioritisation efforts. The LIBE priorities for the negotiation of the Draft budget 2018 fall into three broader policy categories: (1) Asylum and Migration, (2) Management of external EU Borders and (3) Internal Security of the Union. For each of these three policy categories, you will find below the top spending priorities of the LIBE Committee for 2018:

1)  In the field of Asylum and Migration, the first priority of the LIBE Committee is to ensure sufficient funding for the instrument for emergency humanitarian support within the Union, as this mechanism is essential to respond quickly to humanitarian crises on EU soil. The second priority is to fund actions related to the reception and integration of people seeking international protection through AMIF. The third priority is to provide sufficient funding for the transformation of the European Asylum Office into a fully operational European Asylum Agency.

2)  Regarding the control and management of EU external borders, the first priority of the LIBE Committee is to continue to fund appropriately the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in order for it to become fully operational as quickly as possible. The second priority is the funding of the maintenance and evolution of existing and future EU information systems through funding of corresponding actions in the EU-LISA budget. The LIBE Committee wishes to especially highlight the staffing of EU-LISA which it deems insufficient given the scale of ongoing and upcoming projects falling under the responsibility of the Agency. Therefore the LIBE Committee recommends an appropriate staff increase for the Agency.

3)  In relation to management of internal security within the Union, the first priority concerns actions initiated to strengthen police and judicial cooperation as part of the European Agenda on Security, with the objective of better fighting terrorism and cross-border crime. It should cover corresponding actions in the work plans of relevant Agencies, the evolution of the current SIS II system proposed by the Commission, as well as future law-enforcement developments related to EU information systems. The LIBE Committee therefore requests an appropriate allocation of resources to Eurojust. The second priority is to fund actions to fight Cybercrime in line with data protection and data security priorities as well as the European Agenda on security and the revised EU cybersecurity strategy expected in the second half of 2017.

The LIBE Committee would like to recall that external programmes outside the scope of its competences have repercussions on the funding needs inside the Union. Therefore, the LIBE Committee emphasises the importance of efficient and effective programming and monitoring of funds allocated under the Union’s external financing instruments.

Finally, the LIBE Committee would recommend that the Parliament asks the Commission to make a legislative proposal to ensure that the funds which have not been used under the temporary relocation mechanism in support of Italy and Greece, which lapses in September 2017, be reallocated under Heading III.

Yours sincerely,

Claude MORAES


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Letter of 1 June 2017 from Danuta Maria Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, to Jean Arthuis, Chair of the Committee on Budgets

Subject:  AFCO priorities for the mandate for trilogue for Budget 2018

Dear Chair,

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs that I chair is aware that this years' budgetary procedure has been launched slightly later than usual with the presentation of the Statement of estimates of the Commission for 2018 on 30 May 2017. As this delay imposes a very tight calendar for the adoption of your Report on the Mandate for Trilogue for Budget 2018, as Rapporteur for AFCO’s opinion on Budget 2018 I was mandated to prepare our contribution to this draft report in the form of a letter outlining AFCO's priorities for next year's budget.

The committee on Constitutional Affairs would therefore like to draw your attention to the following priority areas, which deserve to be addressed during this year's budgetary negotiations:

- Communication with citizens should be among the top priorities for the budget of all European institutions in 2018, not only because European elections are approaching in 2019, but also in order to ensure a broad public debate and citizens’ involvement in the discussion on the future of Europe in reaction to the Commission’s White Paper presented earlier this year. To this end the European Public Spaces that already exist in 18 Member States could serve as valuable channels for dialogue with citizens and 2018 could be seen as a good year to try and expand their activities;

- What concerns Parliament's budget, AFCO is pleased to see that the 2019 election communication strategy has been reconsidered in light of the lessons learned from the 2014 electoral campaign. It is of utmost importance to avoid any drop in electoral turnout and to this end communication and dialogue with citizens through all possible channels should be at the heart of Parliament’s communication strategy. Citizens should feel involved, represented and engaged. To this end, Parliament’s communication strategy should also be aligned as much as possible with the proposals for a reform in European electoral law adopted in this House on 11 November 2015;

- Concerning AFCO’s usual budgetary priorities, I am pleased to see an increase in both commitment and payment appropriations for the Europe for Citizens programme and an increase in the commitment appropriations of the Rights, equality and citizenship programme. However, I am worried to note the slight decrease in commitment appropriations for the European citizens’ initiative. As these instruments are vital for intensifying the participatory democracy processes in the EU and for building citizens' trust and understanding for European policies and politics, AFCO would like to see these programmes, as well as the underlying communication strategies, equipped with adequate funding to meet their objectives.

I am confident that the Committee on Budgets will take our suggestions into consideration when preparing the Mandate for Trilogue for Budget 2018.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Danuta Hübner


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

29.6.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

3

2

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Jonathan Arnott, Jean Arthuis, Richard Ashworth, Reimer Böge, Lefteris Christoforou, Gérard Deprez, Manuel dos Santos, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Esteban González Pons, Clare Moody, Siegfried Mureşan, Jan Olbrycht, Younous Omarjee, Paul Rübig, Patricija Šulin, Indrek Tarand, Isabelle Thomas, Inese Vaidere, Tiemo Wölken

Substitutes present for the final vote

Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Nicola Caputo, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Ivana Maletić, Stanisław Ożóg, Tomáš Zdechovský


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

22

+

ALDE

Nedzhmi Ali, Jean Arthuis, Gérard Deprez, Anneli Jäätteenmäki

PPE

Reimer Böge, Lefteris Christoforou, José Manuel Fernandes, Esteban González Pons, Ivana Maletić, Siegfried Mureşan, Jan Olbrycht, Paul Rübig, Inese Vaidere, Tomáš Zdechovský, Patricija Šulin

S&D

Nicola Caputo, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Clare Moody, Isabelle Thomas, Tiemo Wölken, Manuel dos Santos

Verts/ALE

Indrek Tarand

3

-

EFDD

Jonathan Arnott

GUE/NGL

Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Younous Omarjee

2

0

ECR

Richard Ashworth, Stanisław Ożóg

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 30 June 2017Legal notice