In 2020, Parliament’s negotiators successfully fought for the biggest EU financial package ever to tackle the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis and finance a new generation of EU programmes for 2021-2027. To support Ukraine and boost EU industrial autonomy, MEPs request a mid-term revision and upscaling of the long-term budget.
The EU long-term budget and a unique €750 billion (more than €800 billion in current prices) recovery instrument (see also NextGenerationEU, RRF) aim to get European societies better prepared for crises and to boost the digital and green transitions, with particular support for young people, SMEs, rescue and health systems and research. Additional measures in support of regions and vulnerable populations (e.g. the Just Transition Fund and the Social Climate fund) were adopted in 2021 and complemented in 2023 to speed up actions to reach climate neutrality and cut dependence on Russian energy (REPowerEU).
EU solidarity based on shared values and objectives
As part of Parliament's budgetary authority, MEPs keep a close eye on the budget spending and on the national recovery plans financed through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). For member states to receive EU funding, they scrupulously need to respect EU climate and digital objectives as well as the rule of law and fundamental EU values. Parliament exerts pressure on the Commission to retain any payments under the “rule of law conditionality”, agreed with Council in 2020, if those requirements are not fulfilled. Moreover, MEPs succeeded in enhancing scrutiny and transparency of the RRF: the 100 biggest beneficiaries of RRF funding have to be published by each member state.
MEPs convinced member states to secure national minimum wages and to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work, across the EU. Parliament also wants to bring in social justice and dignity for workers and put an end to abusive practices by service providers operating via digital platforms (“platform workers”). Furthermore, fair taxation and the fight against money laundering remain high on Parliament’s agenda.
MEPs also call on member states to strengthen minimum income schemes and ban the exploitation of trainees. Furthermore, fair taxation and the fight against money laundering remain high on Parliament’s agenda. Parliament also adopted new rules for financial operations in cryptocurrencies, so they can be traced in the same way as traditional money transfers.
Support for EU industries to drive the digital and green transitions
In February 2023, MEPs voted in favour of establishing a new EU funding instrument” to anchor and re-locate industrial production capacities in Europe. Draft legislation to reform the electricity market and secure the sufficient supply of rare raw materials are in the making, alongside the “Net Zero Industry Act”. MEPs intend to finalise these new rules as a matter of urgency and conclude negotiations with the Council well before the European elections in 2024. This “competitiveness package” should boost the take-up of clean energy technologies, and help EU industries produce high-quality jobs and stimulate economic growth to reach the Green Deal goals.