The battle on the figures is the last ongoing war in the EU. On one side stands the European Council, represented by heads of EU State.
On the other is the European Parliament, represented by us, directly elected Members of European Parliament.
Our positions derived from the last Council meeting of 8-9 February. That meeting concluded with a deal on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which for the first time decreased the EU budget for 2014-20 by 3% from the previous period.
The agreed deal, which was declared a personal victory by every head of state, did little to change the outdated spending priorities of the previous 7 years. For example, funds to agriculture, an industry that generates less than 2% of GDP, remain close to 40% of the overall budget in the current proposal.
In contrast, funding to research, education and cross-border infrastructure, areas which are essential to job creation and promotion of growth, represents approximately 9% to 13% of the overall budget.
Acting this way the Council completely overlooks the EP’s demands to an MFF with greater flexibility, mid-term review, reform to the system of own resources and other requirements that construct the Parliament’s position on the MFF.
This is simply unacceptable to us MEPs!
Overlooking our position equals to ignoring the 2009 Lisbon Treaty which gives the Parliament power as a co-legislator on budgetary issues. In reality the council pushed us to a corner where we are forced to reject the deal presented to us.
No deal on the MFF is not a good option. Not for us and certainly not for the citizens of Europe. If we reach such deadlock, EU’s annual budget will be based on the 2013 levels. This means higher spending and deficiencies adapting the budget to the new political priorities (and commitments).
Trying to avoid such situation the EP voiced its commitment to enter negotiations with the council and finding a compromise on the MFF.
Putting this commitment into practice my colleagues at the Parliament’s Budgets Committee are working on a draft text, which will be put to vote on 13 March during the next plenary session.
The text sets our priorities for the MFF; it stresses our readiness to negotiate with the Council several aspects of the agreement, and it also declares our determination to exercise the powers given to us by the Lisbon Treaty.
We come before the Council holding a white flag in one hand, a veto in the other. It remains to be seen which element will prevail…
Greetings from the European Parliament,
Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg