MEPs have modest expectations for crucial EU budget summit 


Ahead of today's EU summit to decide how best to invest to meet people’s expectations, Parliament’s negotiators are warning not to expect substantial progress from it.

The EU’s next long-term budget will shape what Europe is able to deliver.  

Parliament’s budget negotiators are calling on the Council to finalise its position on how the EU’s budget for 2021-202 should look like. With only a year left until the current long-term budget runs out, EU leaders will need to make progress during the two-day summit.

If implementation is delayed, as was the case in 2014, it could have negative consequences for the EU, such as job losses. Both the Parliament and the Commission have been ready to enter into negotiations with the Council since 2018.

Polish EPP member Jan Olbrycht, one of the Parliament’s negotiators dealing with the spending side, said he doesn't expect substantial progress from the summit in Brussels, but still hopes the Council will set a clear agenda and timeline for 2020 on how it plans to finalise the adoption of the budget.

“We should not forget that our decisions are of crucial importance to the final beneficiaries of the EU long-term budget," he said. "That is why leaders should send a clear message to students, small and medium-sized enterprises, local and regional governments, universities and farmers. They need to know what they can expect for the future.".

Finnish proposal

Earlier this month, the Finnish presidency published a proposal with figures, which will be the basis of today’s discussions. However, Portuguese S&D member Margarida Marques, who is also a negotiator responsible for the spending side, called them “unacceptable”.

“If we are truly committed and we want to deliver results for citizens, we need a redistributive and robust EU budget for the next seven years and we will not achieve this with higher cuts on migration besides of the cuts already proposed by the European Commission in cohesion and common agriculture policies,” she said. “I hope the heads of state and government can reverse this position.”

The Parliament wants a post-2020 investment budget that matches the EU’s political commitments and ambitions for the future, for example research and in the fight against climate change, as well as ensure the continuity of the EU’s main policies, such as the common agriculture policy and support for poorer regions.

Revenue reform

The Parliament also proposes a reform of the revenue side so that the EU has more own resources, such as a new corporate tax scheme (including taxation of large companies in the digital sector), revenues from the Emissions Trading System and a plastics tax.

New sources of revenue would create savings for EU countries as they would lower direct contributions.

French Renew Europe member Valérie Hayer, who is a Parliament negotiator responsible for resource, said she expected the budget summit on 12-13 December to not be very fruitful and added that the establishment of new European sources of revenue would be a prerequisite to reaching a deal with the Parliament.

“Our heads of state and government should go beyond their own budgetary self-interests and take into account what they really gain from our Union in economic terms," she said.

According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, nearly 60% of respondents from all EU member states think their country has benefited from EU membership and want the Parliament to play a bigger role. They want the EU to work together on cross-border issues such as climate change and the fight against terrorism.

Portuguese EPP member José Manuel Fernandes, the other Parliament negotiator dealing with own resources, said the EU's next long-term budget must provide the financial means to face the challenges and priorities of the EU.

“The EU could then be a prominent geopolitical actor and respect the commitments made towards its citizens,” he said.

Belgian ECR member Johan Van Overtveldt, the chair of Parliament's budget committee, and German Greens/EFA member Rasmus Andresen are also par of Parliament's negotiating team for the EU's next long-term budget.