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Procedure : 2014/2020(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0270/2014

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Debates :

PV 16/04/2014 - 11
CRE 16/04/2014 - 11

Votes :

PV 16/04/2014 - 14.4
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Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 - Strasbourg
Implementing measures for the system of own resources

European Parliament resolution of 16 April 2014 on implementing measures for the system of own resources of the European Union (2014/2020(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (05600/2014),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council regulation (COM(2011)0740),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with the third paragraph of Article 311 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C7-0047/2014),

–  having regard to its resolution of 29 March 2007 on the future of the European Union’s own resources(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2011 on investing in the future: a new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive Europe(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 June 2012 on the Multiannual Financial Framework and own resources(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2012 in the interest of achieving a positive outcome of the Multiannual Financial Framework approval procedure(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2013 on the European Council conclusions of 7-8 February 2013 concerning the Multiannual Financial Framework(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2013 on the political agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020(6),

–  having regard to the second subparagraph of Rule 81(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0270/2014),

A.  whereas, according to Article 311 TFEU, the Council, acting by means of regulation in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall lay down implementing measures for the Union’s own resources system in so far as this is provided for in the decision laying down the provisions relating to the system of own resources of the Union;

B.  whereas Article 311 TFEU also stipulates that the budget shall be financed wholly from own resources and allows the Council to establish new categories of own resources or abolish an existing category, providing thus the legal basis for an in-depth reform of the own resources system;

C.  whereas Parliament has continuously called for the financing of the EU budget to return to a genuine system of own resources, as stipulated in the Treaty; whereas it has regularly highlighted the shortcomings and limits of the existing system of own resources, the lack of transparency and high complexity of which make it totally incomprehensible to European citizens, who ultimately bear the consequences;

D.  whereas national contributions to the EU budget, based on GNI, which amount nowadays to around 74 % of total EU revenue, cannot be considered as genuine own resources as they simply constitute transfers from national treasuries to the EU budget; whereas the VAT-based resource, which represents around 11 % of total EU revenue, has developed in such way that it is also perceived as a national contribution to the EU budget ; whereas this situation has reinforced, over decades, the logic of ‘fair return’ that also clearly prevailed in the conclusions of the European Council of 7-8 February 2013 on the MFF 2014-2020 and has largely prevented a structural reform of the EU budget;

E.  whereas, because of austerity measures, Member States are reluctant to increase their contributions to the EU budget, despite the undisputed benefits they derive from EU budget-funded programmes, and whereas a system of direct own resources for the EU is the only viable solution;

F.  whereas Parliament has consistently manifested its support for the Commission proposals, presented in June 2011, which – by reducing the share of national contributions to the EU budget to a maximum of 40 %, abolishing the current purely statistical VAT-based contribution and replacing it by a genuine VAT-based EU resource, creating one new and genuine own resource and replacing all rebates and correction mechanisms by a system of lump sums for the period 2014-2020 – took a step in the right direction by bringing the EU budget revenue side into line with the letter and spirit of the Treaty, and which, as such, from the outset gained the support of an overwhelming majority in Parliament;

G.  whereas despite its discontent with the inability of the Council to progress on the reform of the system of own resources, Parliament eventually gave its consent to the MFF 2014‑2020 Regulation in November 2013, following the agreement with the Council on a joint declaration on the establishment of the High-Level Group on Own Resources; whereas, on that occasion, the Lithuanian Presidency declared its commitment to organising the inaugural meeting of this Group on 18-19 December 2013; whereas, due to delays within the Council in deciding on its three nominees to this High-Level Group, the meeting is only taking place in April 2014;

H.  whereas the High-Level Group on Own Resources aims to produce a first assessment of the current system’s shortcomings by the end of 2014, with a final outcome in 2016 to be assessed at an interinstitutional conference with the participation of national parliaments; whereas the High-Level Group should examine all aspects of the reform of the own resources system with a view to providing the Commission with the necessary means to assess whether new own-resource initiatives are appropriate in parallel with the post electoral review/revision of the 2014-2020 MFF (to be launched no later than the end of 2016) and to propose a successful reform for the period covered by the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework;

1.  Welcomes the Council’s agreement to lay down implementing measures for the Union’s own resources as provided for in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

2.  Considers it regrettable, however, that the Council has decided to transfer the provisions related to the calculation of the GNI resources back to the Own Resources Decision; takes the view that this represents a missed opportunity to group together all implementing provisions in a single text, and that Article 311 of the Treaty of Lisbon does not provide an objective justification for this split;

3.  Deplores the fact that the Council has not been able to make any progress on the reform of the own resources system on the basis of the legislative proposals put forward by the Commission;

4.  Maintains its call for reform of the own resources system of the European Union in order to make it simple, transparent, fair, visible and understandable to EU citizens, thereby reinforcing the EU citizens’ link to the European project while at the same time reducing the burden on Member States’ national treasuries;

5.  Places high expectations on the work of the High-Level Group on Own Resources, which it believes offers a unique opportunity to overcome the current blockage of the reform of the system of own resources; welcomes the first meeting of the High-Level Group on 3 April 2014; expects that, despite the considerable and regrettable delay in organising this inaugural meeting, the High-Level Group will still comply with the objectives and the calendar set out in the joint declaration establishing the High-Level Group on Own Resources;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ C 27 E, 31.1.2008, p. 214.
(2) OJ C 380 E, 11.12.2012, p. 89.
(3) OJ C 332 E, 15.11.2013, p. 42.
(4) OJ C 68 E, 7.3.2014, p. 1.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0078.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0304.

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