Sassoli on budget proposal: “Unsatisfactory draft” 

 

Parliament ready to negotiate.

I thank President Charles Michel for the work he has done, but the proposal he presented today for the next MFF is very far from what is needed to adequately finance the old and new programmes of the European Union.

The figures do not differ much from the Finnish Presidency's proposal on which the European Parliament has already expressed itself clearly and with a very large majority.

It is a proposal that contradicts the proclaimed ambitions on three priorities that the Member States - not the Parliament - have placed at the center of their vision: climate, digitalisation and the geopolitical dimension.

It is a proposal that risks leaving Europe lagging not only behind its own objectives, but also other actors on the international scene, such as China and the US.

It is a proposal that goes in the direction of those who think that Brexit means "less Europe" - and therefore "less budget". But in the face of today's challenges we do not need less Europe, we need a stronger Europe with a strong budget in the interest of citizens. This is the message that Parliament wants to send to the Heads of State and Government.

We appreciate of course the proposals to introduce new EU own resources so that the EU budget does not depend primarily on transfers from Member States. We will also carefully evaluate the implications of enhancing the EIB's capacity to play a significant role as regards to investments.

Parliament is aware of the importance of a timely agreement - we have been ready to negotiate since November 2018 - but is not willing to support an agreement at any cost.

The proposal on the table today is not a satisfactory basis for reaching a budget that responds to the commitments undertaken at the start of the new mandate. I therefore call on the Heads of State and Government to make every effort to improve it in view of the summit on 20 February, because otherwise the Parliament will not be able to accept it.