Plans to make it easier to move money around within the EU’s long-run budget, to help tackle urgent challenges such as the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs, were backed by the Budgets Committee on Monday. Parliament has long fought for greater flexibility within the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), which would apply for the remainder of the 2014-2020 MFF.
“Parliament demanded this revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework because it considered it highly necessary due to a change of circumstances in Europe. And the Parliament was right. Unprecedented crises such as the migration crisis required a verification of policies and an adjustment of the budgetary system. The enhanced flexibility we agreed to means more possibilities of action in European policies. This is the first step towards enabling the EU budgetary system more to adapt faster to needs within the seven-year period, which should be also one of the main mottos of the next financial framework”, said co-rapporteur Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL).
"We welcome the revision voted, which provides, inter alia, an additional €1.2 billion to tackle youth unemployment by 2020. But it should have gone even further, which we will endeavour to obtain in the future budget negotiations", said co-rapporteur Isabelle Thomas (S&D, FR).
Their draft recommendation to approve the proposal for the MFF mid-term revision was approved by 21 votes to 3, with 2 abstentions.
The resulting top-ups, amounting to €6,009 million (15% redeployments, 85% unallocated resources), will be distributed as follows:
- €3.9 billion for migration-related measures inside the EU (€2.55bn) and for tackling the root causes of migration externally (€1.39bn);
- €2.1 billion for jobs and growth, the bulk of which will boost the Youth Employment Initiative with €1.2bn for 2017-2020. The remaining funds are reserved for transport infrastructure, research programmes, SME support and Erasmus+.
MEPs made clear, however, that the amounts indicated in the €6bn package are “reference amounts to be examined in the context of the annual budgetary procedure, taking due account of the concrete circumstances of each annual budget.”
A more flexible budget
In essence, however, the proposal amends the MFF regulation of 2013 to strengthen various flexibility provisions and special instruments, which will allow more funds to be shifted more easily between budget chapters and years. The aim is to increase the capacity of the EU budget to address unforeseen events and new priorities, against a backdrop of persistent challenges inside and outside the EU. More information in the background briefing.
The revised MFF regulation still needs the consent of the full house before the Council can formally adopt it by a unanimous vote.