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Outcome of the Special European Council meeting of 17-21 July 2020

23-07-2020

After almost five days of negotiations, the European Council reached a political agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027 and a specific recovery instrument following the coronavirus crisis – Next Generation EU (NGEU) – together totalling €1 824.3 billion. Negotiations seem to have concentrated in particular on the balance between loans and grants for the provision of funding under the NGEU, with a final division of €360 and €390 billion respectively. Other notable ...

After almost five days of negotiations, the European Council reached a political agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027 and a specific recovery instrument following the coronavirus crisis – Next Generation EU (NGEU) – together totalling €1 824.3 billion. Negotiations seem to have concentrated in particular on the balance between loans and grants for the provision of funding under the NGEU, with a final division of €360 and €390 billion respectively. Other notable developments concern the link between EU funding and respect for the rule of law, the size of the MFF, rebates and own ressources.

Outlook for the Special European Council meeting of 17-18 July 2020

14-07-2020

Based on an updated 'negotiating box' presented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, on 10 July, the special meeting of the European Council on 17-18 July will aim at finding a political agreement on the EU recovery fund, entitled ‘Next Generation EU’, and the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-27 seven-year financing period. It will be the first meeting of EU Heads of State or Government to take place in person since the coronavirus outbreak. The last such physical ...

Based on an updated 'negotiating box' presented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, on 10 July, the special meeting of the European Council on 17-18 July will aim at finding a political agreement on the EU recovery fund, entitled ‘Next Generation EU’, and the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-27 seven-year financing period. It will be the first meeting of EU Heads of State or Government to take place in person since the coronavirus outbreak. The last such physical meeting of the European Council – held on 20-21 February, prior to the crisis –failed to reach a political agreement on the EU's long-term budget. The revised negotiating box, taking into account the Commission's updated MFF proposals – adopted alongside, and linked to, its recovery fund proposals – envisages a reduced MFF amounting to €1.074 trillion. Furthermore, Charles Michel's proposals maintain the balance between loans and grants for the recovery fund proposed by the Commission. While a lot of pressure is being applied to find an agreement urgently, it remains to be seen whether EU leaders will agree a deal at this meeting or whether yet another meeting will be needed. In any case, the current MFF negotiations have already taken much longer than was originally intended, potentially jeopardising the timely launch of the EU's new spending programmes.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 19 June 2020

22-06-2020

At their video-conference meeting on Friday 19 June, EU Heads of State or Government focussed essentially on the revised proposal for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), together with the coronavirus Recovery Plan for the European economy. As announced, this exchange of views was effectively a ‘stepping-stone’ in an on-going discussion, and as expected, no final agreement was reached during this video-conference. Nevertheless, EU leaders used this first opportunity to jointly discuss ...

At their video-conference meeting on Friday 19 June, EU Heads of State or Government focussed essentially on the revised proposal for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), together with the coronavirus Recovery Plan for the European economy. As announced, this exchange of views was effectively a ‘stepping-stone’ in an on-going discussion, and as expected, no final agreement was reached during this video-conference. Nevertheless, EU leaders used this first opportunity to jointly discuss and clarify their positions on the European Commission’s new proposals. While consensus is emerging on certain issues, differences in views remain substantial, notably on the overall size of the EU budget, the use of rebates, the balance between loans and grants, and the allocation criteria for funding. Aware of the need to provide funding to a severely affected European economy as soon as possible, the European Council will convene again around the middle of July – this time for an in-person meeting – to attempt to reach a political agreement. Those discussions will be based on concrete proposals which the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, will submit ahead of that meeting. In addition to this central topic, EU Heads of State or Government were briefed on the state of play in the negotiations on the future EU-UK partnership, on the EU’s economic situation and on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Assigned revenue in the Recovery Plan - The frog that wishes to be as big as the ox?

15-06-2020

Exception to the budgetary principle of universality, assigned revenues flatten at 10.5 % in last years. The emergency European Recovery Instrument put forward by the Commission amounts to EUR 750 billion. Out of this EUR 750 billion, EUR 500 billion are external assigned revenue. Therefore, more than a third of the EU budget will be considered as assigned revenue in the EU budget. On assigned revenue, the European Parliament is excluded from the decision-making process. Given the size of the amount ...

Exception to the budgetary principle of universality, assigned revenues flatten at 10.5 % in last years. The emergency European Recovery Instrument put forward by the Commission amounts to EUR 750 billion. Out of this EUR 750 billion, EUR 500 billion are external assigned revenue. Therefore, more than a third of the EU budget will be considered as assigned revenue in the EU budget. On assigned revenue, the European Parliament is excluded from the decision-making process. Given the size of the amount in question, the budgetary treatment of external assigned revenue should be reassessed.

Outlook for the European Council video-conference of 19 June 2020

12-06-2020

The European Council meeting on 19 June, to be held by video-conference, will be almost exclusively dedicated to the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the proposed new EU recovery fund, dubbed ‘Next Generation EU’. The two European Commission proposals are now to be considered as one package for the purpose of negotiation, since the recovery fund is in effect embedded within the revamped EU long-term budget. This has increased the pressure on Member States to reach a political agreement ...

The European Council meeting on 19 June, to be held by video-conference, will be almost exclusively dedicated to the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the proposed new EU recovery fund, dubbed ‘Next Generation EU’. The two European Commission proposals are now to be considered as one package for the purpose of negotiation, since the recovery fund is in effect embedded within the revamped EU long-term budget. This has increased the pressure on Member States to reach a political agreement on the MFF, but also multiplied the issues of disagreement among the EU leaders. In addition to the MFF-specific issues, on which divergences could not be overcome at the special European Council meeting in February 2020 – namely the overall size of the EU budget, the use of rebates and the funding allocation per policy area – the proposal for the recovery fund raises sensitive new questions, notably on the balance between loans and grants, the allocation criteria for funding and the modalities for repayment.

Amending budget No 3/2020: 2019 surplus

11-06-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 3/2020 (DAB 3/2020) to the general budget 2020 enters the surplus resulting from implementation of the 2019 budget as revenue into the EU's 2020 budget. The 2019 surplus totals over €3.2 billion (as compared to €1.8 billion in 2018 and €0.56 billion in 2017). It consists mostly of higher than expected revenues, and underspending on the expenditure side. Inclusion of the surplus will reduce the gross national income contributions of Member States (including the United Kingdom ...

Draft Amending Budget No 3/2020 (DAB 3/2020) to the general budget 2020 enters the surplus resulting from implementation of the 2019 budget as revenue into the EU's 2020 budget. The 2019 surplus totals over €3.2 billion (as compared to €1.8 billion in 2018 and €0.56 billion in 2017). It consists mostly of higher than expected revenues, and underspending on the expenditure side. Inclusion of the surplus will reduce the gross national income contributions of Member States (including the United Kingdom) to the 2020 EU budget accordingly. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 3/2020 during its June plenary session.

Spending at EU level saves at national level … and more

20-03-2020

The European Union (EU) budget is often portrayed as a cost for net contributors to the EU, and it is revealing how redistribution to other Member States is presented as having little value for contributing states. Conversely, while critical of a number of areas of expenditure, the academic literature generally considers the EU budget to be far too small to contribute effectively to the demands made upon it. Studies of the optimum distribution of competences and finance, following the theories of ...

The European Union (EU) budget is often portrayed as a cost for net contributors to the EU, and it is revealing how redistribution to other Member States is presented as having little value for contributing states. Conversely, while critical of a number of areas of expenditure, the academic literature generally considers the EU budget to be far too small to contribute effectively to the demands made upon it. Studies of the optimum distribution of competences and finance, following the theories of fiscal federalism, call for a considerable expansion of the EU budget and competences. There is no doubt that there are many ways to improve and expand the EU budget based on comparisons with federal states. However, as the EU is not a federal state, it does not have the capacity to rearrange its competences in this way (the EU Treaty is hard to amend), and any proposal for change would have to remain within the EU's Treaty limitations. The EU's supranational nature, bringing sovereign nations together voluntarily in a complex single market that requires some pooling of competences, makes it a unique budgetary entity. Reality therefore complicates explanations of the EU budget, the value it adds and the consequent savings for Member States.

Vanjski autor

This paper was drafted as a contribution to the EPRS expert seminar on 'EU Budget 2021-27: Challenges and opportunities', held on 28 January 2020. Its author is Jorge Núñez Ferrer, associate senior research fellow, CEPS.

A new package for finance and expenditure in the EU budget

20-03-2020

Every time a new multiannual financial framework (MFF) is negotiated, there is a call for the EU to invest in new policies that provide added-value. What would this mean? Firstly, that EU investment is cost effective and that it is cheaper to run a single EU expenditure policy even in a policy such as agriculture than as 27 or 28 different national expenditure polices. Secondly, that there are cross-border benefits, efficiently linking areas of opportunity between the Member States. Erasmus+, Horizon ...

Every time a new multiannual financial framework (MFF) is negotiated, there is a call for the EU to invest in new policies that provide added-value. What would this mean? Firstly, that EU investment is cost effective and that it is cheaper to run a single EU expenditure policy even in a policy such as agriculture than as 27 or 28 different national expenditure polices. Secondly, that there are cross-border benefits, efficiently linking areas of opportunity between the Member States. Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, or the Connecting Europe Framework are examples of this. Thirdly, it is the ability to afford expensive investment in the collective good that any one Member State alone would not be able to afford. Examples include Galileo and the nuclear fusion ITER programme. These three types of added-value are the basis for the case of reform of the budget. They always face challenges from the Member States concerned either to maximise their economic benefit, or to minimise the cost for their Treasuries. Others simply call for a lower budget, even if most of them recognise the collective benefits of added-value. Moreover, some Member States in the face of expenditure reductions, move to salvage their benefits in agricultural or cohesion expenditure. The predictable results in negotiating the MFFs in 2006 and 2013 were somewhat smaller budgets. These contained less of an increase in added-value expenditure than originally proposed, and smaller reductions than anticipated for agricultural and cohesion expenditure, against a backdrop of net balance or juste retour calculations by Member States. The question is how to break this logjam. In 2013, the Parliament accepted a package deal of expenditure reductions in exchange for significantly more flexibility in the budget, a full scale review of the MFF in 2016-17 and the establishment of a High Level Group on Own Resources to investigate new sources of finance for the budget (Benedetto 2019). The flexibility and the mid-term review may have allowed for a larger real terms budget to have taken effect despite the reduction in commitments and payments in the official figures. In turn, the paper will focus on the European Commission’s proposal of 2018 for the new MFF, the challenge of net balances, funds and instruments outside the EU budget, and possible packages for reform.

Vanjski autor

This paper was drafted as a contribution to the EPRS expert seminar on 'EU Budget 2021-27: Challenges and opportunities', held on 28 January 2020. Its author is Giacomo Benedetto, Jean Monnet chair in European Union politics, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Outcome of the special European Council, 20-21 February 2020

24-02-2020

On 20-21 February 2020, EU Heads of State or Government held their first meeting specially dedicated to the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) since the publication of the European Commission’s proposal in May 2018. Despite intense preparations and discussions, lasting over two days, EU leaders failed to overcome their differences and to find an agreement. At the end of the meeting, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, declared that ‘we need more time’. When, and under ...

On 20-21 February 2020, EU Heads of State or Government held their first meeting specially dedicated to the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) since the publication of the European Commission’s proposal in May 2018. Despite intense preparations and discussions, lasting over two days, EU leaders failed to overcome their differences and to find an agreement. At the end of the meeting, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, declared that ‘we need more time’. When, and under which conditions, the European Council will reconvene for another attempt to finding an agreement has not decided thus far.

The European Council and the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework

17-02-2020

EU Heads of State or Government will meet on 20 February 2020 for a special European Council to discuss the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). Both the Sibiu declaration by EU Heads of State or Government and the Strategic Agenda 2019-2014 state that ‘the EU must give itself the means to match its ambitions, attain its objectives and carry through its policies’. Following a first informal discussion in February 2018, the European Council regularly touched upon the MFF negotiations at ...

EU Heads of State or Government will meet on 20 February 2020 for a special European Council to discuss the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). Both the Sibiu declaration by EU Heads of State or Government and the Strategic Agenda 2019-2014 state that ‘the EU must give itself the means to match its ambitions, attain its objectives and carry through its policies’. Following a first informal discussion in February 2018, the European Council regularly touched upon the MFF negotiations at its meetings over the last two years. However, until now, the EU Heads of State or Government did so without really attempting to reach an agreement.

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