Keeping the recovery on track for all: MEPs adopt budget priorities for 2023
- Despite encouraging signals, uncertainty in the economic outlook persists, also due to the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine
- 2023 EU budget will play an important role in strengthening the Union economy
- MEPs condemn “in the strongest possible terms the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation”
- Significant funding needed to address the geopolitical consequences of the current crisis
Among the priorities for next year’s EU budget are the continued recovery, support for health, youth and climate action and tackling the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine.
In the resolution by rapporteur Nicolae Ştefănuță (RENEW, RO), adopted by the Committee on Budgets on Wednesday by 32 votes against 4, with 4 abstentions, MEPs state that they want the 2023 EU budget to be a “future-oriented budget that matches the Union’s political priorities, ensuring a stronger Health Union, making a success of the green and digital transitions and fostering a fair, inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery, including increased support for SMEs, promoting fundamental rights, EU values, the rule of law and its application, contributing to greater opportunities for young people throughout the Union, and ensuring a stronger Union for its people and in the world.”
Boosting the EU economy, health programmes, and supporting the young
MEPs note that despite the encouraging signals pointing to expected further growth in 2022, “uncertainty in the economic outlook persists, in the light of factors such as supply chain disruption, high energy prices, rising inflation and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, and the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine”. The 2023 Union budget therefore “will play an important role in strengthening the Union economy”, they say, and underline the importance of fostering economic, social and territorial cohesion “as one of the cornerstones of the recovery”.
The resolution text recalls that the COVID-19 crisis has put public health systems “under unprecedented stress and has exacerbated existing challenges”, while also causing “a severe negative impact on young people, their employment prospects, working conditions and mental health”. MEPs therefore welcome the priority given to Union health policy, call for further resources for relevant programmes, and “believe strongly that the 2023 budget should include a focus on youth, building on the momentum of the 2022 European Year of Youth with concrete actions and policies to be continued in 2023”.
Making a success of the green and digital transitions
The resolution text acknowledges that implementing the Green Deal and achieving the Union’s climate neutrality goal by 2050 as well as the zero pollution ambition “will require significant public and private investments in order to bridge the green transition investment gap identified by the Commission and achieve the binding objectives of the Paris Agreement”. MEPs stress “that the cost of inaction would be much higher” and therefore recall the need for “ambitious resources for programmes supporting climate and biodiversity action, and environmental protection”.
Promoting the rule of law, EU values, fundamental rights and their application
Members of the Committee on Budgets consider it essential for the Union’s credibility to ensure the proper use of EU funds and to take all steps to protect the Union’s financial interests, insisting that the so-called “Rule of Law conditionality mechanism” should be applied “immediately and in full”, regretting that the Commission has not yet implemented it, despite the fact that it entered into force on 1 January 2021.
MEPs express deep concern at the significant deterioration of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights, including the independence of the judiciary, separation of powers, the fight against corruption and independence and freedom of media in some Member States. They call for an ambitious level of resources for EU programmes such as the “Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme” or the “Justice programme”.
Invasion of Ukraine
MEPs condemn “in the strongest possible terms the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and all the attempts to destabilise the EU’s partners in the Eastern Neighbourhood”. They urge the Union to “guarantee significant funding to address the geopolitical consequences of the current crisis including support for the deployment of humanitarian and preparedness measures in the Member States and in the Eastern neighbourhood for welcoming refugees”, also calling on the Commission and the Member States to “mobilise all available financial means to support Ukraine”.
The vote in plenary is scheduled for 4 April. The Commission is expected to present its proposal for the 2023 budget in June 2022. Next year's budget has to be agreed between the Council and the Parliament by the end of this year.
The budget guidelines are the first document that Parliament produces during the annual budget procedure. It sets out the line that Parliament expects the Commission to take when drawing up its budget proposal.
Well over 90% of the EU budget goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers and businesses.
Armin WISDORFFPress Officer