President Antonio Tajani sets out the European Parliament’s position on the EU budget and the Spitzenkandidaten process at the informal European Council
The next EU budget and the selection process for the President of the European Commission (through the so called Spitzenkandidaten method) were among the main topics discussed by Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, and the Heads of State and Government of the EU27 at the informal European Council today.
“Europe must change to give more effective answers to citizens. We need a political EU budget reflecting the priorities of the peoples of Europe on security, migration and unemployment.
To do this we need more resources. It is not the time for easy rhetoric. An insufficient budget would be an illusion of savings. In reality, that would result in more national spending and in the inability of the Union to implement effective policies in the key areas.
Think of the fight against unemployment through reindustrialisation and innovation, the modernisation of agriculture, territorial cohesion, the energy transition, network infrastructure and digitalisation. It is simply not possible to act united on defence, the fight against terrorism, border control, management of migration flows and a Marshall Plan for Africa without increasing EU funding,” said President Tajani at the end of the summit.
“Every single euro spent at the EU level in these sectors has a multiplier effect way higher that the same expense at the national level. At the same time, the increase of the EU budget should not be a burden on the tax payers. We need to tap on new own resources which instil a better equity for net contributors. These resources need to come from those who do not pay their taxes today. I am thinking of the digital platforms, which pay very little tax only in some Member States, and of financial transactions with a speculative character or about the importation of environmental dumping", added the President.
President Tajani has also underlined the need for a European Plan in support of child birth and the family: “this is an essential initiative to help parents in balancing work and family and to support children related costs. This would facilitate more women entering the labour market with important effects on economic growth”.
The President of the European Parliament has also expressed support to the conditionality criterion on structural funds: “Those who do not participate in full and in solidarity in the management of migration flows and who do not respect Union rules must pay the price for that. We discussed the possibility of introducing an element of conditionality to persuade those Member States which take their distance in contributing on asylum seekers”.
“It is vital to seal a framework deal with the present Parliament, for an operational budget already in 2021”, said the President, “We hope that the Commission works out its proposal already in May.”
Turning to the matter of the Spitzenkandidaten, Tajani said that the European Parliament had approved by a large majority, two weeks previously, the revision of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission.
With this revision, the assembly embraces the Spitzenkandidaten practice used in 2014 to appoint President Juncker. Under this process, all the European political groups undertake to nominate a candidate for the Commission Presidency, following an internal selection procedure. The candidate from the political group which obtains the largest number of seats in the next Parliament will be put forward for the post of President of the Commission.
Antonio Tajani remarked that "using the Spitzenkandidaten process in 2014 to choose the President of the European Commission was a milestone on the path to a more political and democratic Europe, and we must not turn back now.
We must consolidate that process, and continue working to bring Europe and the EU institutions closer to the people, involving EU citizens in decisions which have a bearing on their future"
"If, when Europeans vote to choose their own representatives, they are also voting for candidates for President of the Commission, this will encourage participation. It will also help strengthen the political scrutiny that Parliament exercises over the Commission, which is a hallmark of parliamentary democracy. Our citizens want the Union to be led by politicians, not bureaucrats. They prefer open and transparent competition between parties and candidates to agreements behind closed doors,’ concluded President Tajani.