The European Parliament must insist on a strong EU budget for 2021-2027

The EESC has forcefully reiterated its call for a Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of 1.3% of EU-27 gross national income for the period 2021-2027. This call comes at a crucial moment on the path to an agreement on the EU's next long-term budget, with the European Council still trying to establish its position.

During an ECO section debate in February on the state of play of the MFF negotiations with Johan Van Overtveldt, chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgets, EESC members called on Parliament to stick up for an ambitious EU budget. Against the current backdrop of geopolitical and economic uncertainties, global megatrends, societal challenges and the new European Green Deal, the European Union needs to adopt a strong budget that reflects its intended actions.

ECO section president, Stefano Palmieri said: "It is crucial to have a coherent MFF post-2020 able to face the new challenges for the EU: the new Green Deal, changes brought about by the digital economy and the importance of maintaining an effective cohesion policy."

Now more than ever, the EU needs a credible and ambitious new budget to be able to deliver on the expectations of the people, said EESC members.

Mr Van Overtveldt said that it was uncertain how Parliament's unity regarding support for the call for 1.3% of GNI would evolve during the negotiations with the Council. He said: "I can certainly say that it is the firm intention of the European Parliament to have a tough negotiation on where [the] compromise eventually will be." Notwithstanding, Parliament would insist on a contingency plan, as "no deal" before 1 January 2021 could not be ruled out, which would have adverse effects on the timely start of the new programmes.

Lastly, speakers urged the heads of state and government to reach, as soon as possible, an agreement at the European Council to which the European Parliament could give its consent.

Read the EESC opinion. (jk)