In a debate on the new EU long-term budget and recovery fund, MEPs paid tribute to citizens’ courage and insisted the EU budget must not leave anyone behind.
In the plenary debate preceding the vote on a resolution on the long-term budget and recovery fund, MEPs paid tribute to those citizens who are at the forefront during the health crisis, like nurses or grocery store employees. They motivate us with their courage and are shouldering their responsibility, MEPs said, and now member states in the Council must follow suit and stop procrastinating, moralizing or haggling over budgetary net benefits. The EP will be ready to support them.
The next long-term EU budget must be ambitious and future-oriented, and the recovery fund must be a part of it, members underlined. It is important not to forget about the regions and the farmers and focus on the future, by tackling climate change, digitalisation, securing the younger generation’s future and supporting the weakest in society. A key demand was that Parliament must be properly involved in the process of setting up and implementing the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and recovery fund: it will “fight for a democratic budget that cares for the people”.
Some MEPs warned of a dominant China, and emphasised the need to “protect EU jobs and companies”, for example from hostile takeovers. There were also calls to protect and improve the single market as a vehicle for recovery.
The President of the European Council Charles Michel, who reported on the latest European Council videoconference, promised a “strong and ambitious strategy” based on the EU budget and the recovery fund, and urged that the crisis must strengthen European integration, instead of aggravating differences between countries.
Commission President von der Leyen outlined her plans for a revamped MFF and recovery plan, based on three pillars - recovery and repair, kick-starting the economy and learning the lessons. She also pledged that the EP will play a full role in the entire recovery package and the budget.
The European Commission is expected to submit soon a proposal for a revamped MFF and recovery fund to take account of the health crisis and its consequences.
As the current long-term EU budget runs out on 31 December 2020, the EU needs a new budgetary planning horizon for the next seven years. The EU Commission thus presented plans for the next MFF for 2021-2027 in May 2018. The European Parliament adopted its position in November 2018, and re-confirmed it in October 2019. The Council has not yet been able to agree on a position.
To watch the full debate, click here.