“The MFF should reflect EU priorities, respond to the aspirations and concerns of EU citizens, demonstrate EU solidarity and its readiness to strengthen competitiveness, security and sustainability, as well as social, territorial and economic cohesion," insisted José Manuel Fernandes, the EPP Group’s Coordinator in the Budget Committee, when commenting on the European Parliament’s final position on the next long-term EU budget and the reform of the EU’s own resources.
The reports, which will be put to the vote on Wednesday, were co-authored by Jan Olbrycht and Janusz Lewandowski respectively.
“We want a strong and ambitious European Union that lives up to citizens' expectations; considering the United Kingdom's exit from the Union, the budget should change to 1.3% of EU27 GNI and be financed through actual own resources,” Mr Fernandes stressed.
He underlined that only this kind of budget will allow support at the current level for agriculture and cohesion policies, while providing for additional funding to deal with new challenges such as security, defence or migration.
“We call for the continuation of the EU's ambitious agenda. We also want to strengthen EU action in the field of research and innovation and to increase our support to young citizens and SMEs. If Member States insist on a smaller EU Budget, they need to clearly state which policies and joint actions they want to drop,” stressed Jan Olbrycht.
He insisted that the European Parliament is ready to start negotiations with Member States and the European Commission as soon as possible, with a view to reaching an agreement on the post-2020 MFF before the 2019 European elections.
“It is not about the MFF, it is about the future of the European Union. Only the timely adoption of the post-2020 EU Budget will allow for shaping EU programmes and launching them on time, on 1 January 2021,” he stressed.
The MEPs called not only for additional revenue based on new own resources, but also for revising and substantially simplifying the system of rebates and corrections on the revenue side of the EU Budget.
“In the current political situation, more than ever before, we have to discuss the expenditure and the revenue sides of the European Budget at the same time. For many years the European Parliament has called on the Member States to do this. It is our condition sine qua non for a final agreement with the Council. This is the only way to respond to the new challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Janusz Lewandowski, former European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget.
“By progressively replacing GNI-based contributions, we could end the anti-European focus on fair return and net balances. Europe must depart from the concept of net operating balance. There is now a strong case for eliminating all rebates and corrections. Brexit gives us a unique opportunity to make this happen,” stressed Janusz Lewandowski.
“We need a simpler system of EU own resources that is more understandable for European taxpayers,” he underlined.
The EPP Group wants to align future long-term EU budgets to the political cycle of the European Parliament and the European Commission.
As it is not possible for the next long-term budget period, the next Multiannual Financial Framework should be decided for a period of 7 years, as a transitional solution that would apply for one last time.
From 2027, the long-term EU budget should have a duration of 10 years - a 5+5 period with a mandatory mid-term revision.