The next phase of discussions will begin after making public the Commission’s proposal. In the meantime, the European Parliament works on a report on the policy challenges and budgetary resources for a Sustainable EU after 2013 (SURE), which is becoming unmanageable due to the amount of amendments included (over a thousand). The President of the Parliament, Jerzy Buzek has recommended to concentrate on a few, but really important points. A strong effort to get positions closer is being made, but agreements are difficult regarding the structure of the budget, the major categories of expenditure, the overall size and new own resources. The President of the Commission and the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, have stressed their defence of expenditure in Cohesion Policy, and have asked not to use the discussions on the future EU budget as a scapegoat. The EU budget should be an instrument to exit the crisis and should not be considered as a source for it.


In any case, a battle is taking place between MEPs and Member States (MSs). The Parliament asks for an increase of at least 5% of resources in the next MFF, opposed to the general freezing proposal included in the “Letter of the Five” (UK, FR, DE, NL, FI).


The four major points of debate are:

  1. Overall level of spending. Net contributors wont’ be happy with this request of a minimum increase of 5%, but looking at the current inflation rates, we cannot go below this figure.
  2. Allocation to political priorities, particularly the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Cohesion Policy. The allocations should at least be maintained during the next MFF.
  3. Overall duration of the next MFF: instead of an alignment with the EU’s political cycle (5 years mandates), MEPs asked for a 7 year cycle for next MFF as a transitional solution, as 5 years might be too short at this stage. It should include, anyway, an obligatory mid-term review. Furthermore, they overview a 5+5 years MFF after 2021.
  4. The structure of the budget.


Moreover, the Parliament has iterated their call for new genuine own resources to the EU budget, in order to replace the GNI-based system. The EU should collect the new tax directly, without going through national budgets. The most favourable option is a FTT (Financial Transaction Tax). Some called to end all existing rebates, exceptions and correction mechanisms.


12 MSs, the so-called “net-beneficiaries” (BG, CZ, EE, GR, HU, LT, LV, PT, RO, SK, SV, ES), have called for an ambitious Cohesion Policy with a share of the EU budget of at least its present level. This can be seen as another reaction to the Letter of the Five. Their main point is that the EU budget should support the global EU competitiveness while securing the internal cohesion, taking into account the needs of the regions and national and regional prerogatives and responsibilities. The Cohesion Policy should be for all, but focused on less prosperous regions.


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