The future of the EU depends on how we frame the EU’s MFF, says Sassoli

The future of the EU of our citizens depends on how we frame the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, President David Sassoli told a press conference in Strasbourg.

He was speaking after a debate in the European Parliament on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, where he warned national governments that the European Parliament would not support any agreement that cuts key programmes that Europeans rely on.

The new long-term EU budget is the most important issue at the start of this legislature. The European Parliament supports an ambitious MFF because it is needed to finance the ambitious proposals that the European Commission has put forward. These proposals will boost growth and help tackle inequality in Europe. National governments suppo2rt these aims but currently are not giving the EU the necessary means to achieve them, he remarked.

Noting the EP wants to reach an agreement with the Council, however if they refuse to move and accept Parliament’s positions then we will go all the way and reject the new long-term EU budget.

These are not just abstract figures but have real consequences for the lives of all Europeans, he remarked and wondered how can we even think of cuts to such successful programmes as Erasmus+ or to measures designed to protect our borders?

Becoming the first climate neutral continent requires unprecedented changes to our economies and our societies. We have to ensure that workers and those most affected by these changes are not forgotten. We cannot allow fighting climate change to lead to greater inequality. The current proposals for the Just Transition Fund are inadequate and must be strengthened if Parliament is to back an agreement, Sassoli added.

A well-funded EU budget is in the interest of all Europeans and all member states, he said, adding we want to see genuine own resources to put the EU budget on a sustainable footing, rather than relying on funding solely from national governments.

Sassoli said the EP is still waiting for the proposals from European Commission President Charles Michel. The EP president did not attend the Strasbourg discussion on the MFF.

It is very important to achieve agreement at the Council , he said, adding the EP is determined to take it to the end with no stone unturned.

Answering questions, Sassoli reminded that the Council will also need the consent of parliament.

We have difficulty protecting borders, how can you even be cutting a very important successful programme, like Frontex? he questioned. We want to triple funding for Erasmus, he said, noting the cuts proposed in the Finish presidency proposal, would make the the number of students eligible to drop quite a lot. These proposals are inadequate, insufficient, he remarked and said we want a parallel discussion for our own resources fresh money, new resources, flow directly in the Union’s budget.

In the discussion, MEPs underlined that Parliament will only give its consent to a budget that meets the European Union’s ambitions, in a debate on EU funding for 2021-2027.

Talking about the budget means talking about the EU’s future, MEPs said in a key plenary debate with Nikolina Brnjac, Croatian State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs, representing the Council, and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The debate on Wednesday came ahead of a special EU summit starting on 20 February, where member states will try to agree on a common position on the next MFF.

Most MEPs insisted that sufficient funding is key to achieve common ambitions such as fighting climate change, the digital and ecological transformation, dealing with the social consequences of the latter, and continuing to support regions and cities, farmers, young people, researchers or entrepreneurs. Implementing the Green Deal with a reduced budget, for example, would mean cutting successful EU programmes elsewhere, MEPs highlighted. Some said that certain EU policies need to be assessed more thoroughly, and that more spending discipline is needed.

In addition, introducing new sources of revenue (Own Resources) for the EU and linking the EU budget to the respect of rule of law are key for MEPs.

Source: Cyprus News Agency