Negotiations on the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) began on Monday, 13 May after a long deadlock (see my previous blog post on this issue https://lidiageringer.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/eus-long-term-budget-are-we-there-yet/ ).
These talks were concluded with optimistic smiles and statements assuring that things were back on track and negotiations could conclude by the end of the Irish Presidency.
The next day, Tuesday, 14 May, positive headlines swept the media announcing that EU finance ministers have approved a €7.3 billion increase in the bloc’s spending for 2013. A second payment for topping-up the 2013 budget would be made later on.
According to a statement issued after the ECOFIN meeting, the money would be focused on “measures to support economic growth, create jobs and tackle unemployment, especially among youth”.
Furthermore, the statement reads that ministers would formally adopt this position on the amending budget “at a later stage in parallel with the conclusion of the talks on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020”.
The position of the Council, as expressed at the ECOFIN meeting, once more fails to provide political commitments and guarantees that it will transfer the fully requested amount of €11.2 billion.
This sum represents the Commission’s estimation of the payments needed until the end of the year, thus it cannot be regarded by the Commission as “fresh money” provided to support economic growth and job creation.
Furthermore, the Parliament has made it clear that negotiations on the MFF are linked to negotiations on the amending budget for 2013. By asking to formally adopt a position on the €11.2 billion at a later stage, the Council continues its attempts to separate discussions on the MFF from the draft amending budget.
The negotiation conditions set by the Council are very problematic and they do not reflect a genuine will to strike a deal on an agreement that will help restore Europe’s economic growth.
If we are to accept the Council negotiating terms we put ongoing EU programmes at jeopardy of running out of money. We also risk that the next financial framework will begin in a deficit that will only prolong our current problems.
I said it before and I will repeat it again, the Council must prove itself ready to seriously negotiate an agreement which will affect the socio-economic needs of EU citizens in the next 7 years.
Greetings from the European Parliament,
Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg
22/5: General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels
28/5: Trialouge negotiations talks on the MFF 2014-2020