MEPs Call for Urgent Reform to EU Long-Term Budget to Cope With Current Crises
Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of adopting a resolution to bring urgent revisions to the Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The MFF is there to ensure that the EU’s expenditure develops in an orderly manner and within the limits of its own resources.
A statement from the EU Parliament outlines that the world has changed beyond recognition since the EU’s 7-year-budget was adopted in 2020 and that the current long-term budget is not equipped to respond efficiently to the multitude of crises witnessed.
MEPs are calling on the EU Commission to propose an urgent revision of the MFF and to push for a reform of the EU budget to respond more effectively to evolving needs, address funding gaps, and increase flexibility and crisis responsiveness.
MEPs underline that the current MFF has already been “pushed to its limits” less than two years after it was adopted, a situation aggravated by the unforeseeable events of 2022, like the war in Ukraine. They point out that it is “simply not equipped, in terms of size, structure or rules, to respond quickly and effectively to a multitude of crises” and are “very concerned that the current MFF leaves the Union ill-equipped to respond to any potential future crises and needs and to fulfil its strategic role in the international arena”.
They say the revision must provide new funding for new political priorities and ensure a stronger and more agile EU budget that “meets the highest standards of transparency and democratic accountability”. They also request that the MFF be increased and ask for more budgetary flexibility and a “common crisis instrument” that “can be effectively and swiftly activated as needs arise”.
MEPs are demanding that the repayment of debt and borrowing costs from the EU recovery instrument must be placed outside the MFF ceilings due to fears that these costs, in a context of rising interest rates, could lead to funding for programmes such as Erasmus+, EU4Health, Creative Europe and Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values being reduced.
The European Commission has announced it will propose an “ambitious review” of the MFF in the second quarter of 2023. It stated in May that “the unforeseen needs created by war in Europe are well beyond the means available in the current multiannual financial framework. Therefore, new financing sources will have to be identified.”
Co-rapporteur Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL) said, “We believe that the EU’s long-term budget has not been designed to address new challenges, especially the numerous, unforeseen crises that the EU has recently faced. Therefore, we call for an urgent revision of the current MFF in order to adapt the budget to the new conditions we find ourselves in”.
On 2nd May 2018, the Commission submitted legislative proposals for a new MFF for the period 2021-2027. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, on 27 May 2020 the Commission put forward a recovery plan (NextGenerationEU) that included revised proposals for the MFF and own resources, and the setting up of a recovery instrument worth €750 billion. The package was adopted on 16th December 2020.