At a plenary debate in September with Günther Oettinger (Commissioner for Budget and HR) on the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, the EESC called - in line with the European Parliament's position - for an ambitious budget of at least 1.3% of GNI. This volume would provide the EU with the tools to tackle current and future challenges. An agreement on a robust budget before the European elections in May 2019 would send an important political message and ensure that important spending programmes could start without delay.

Javier Doz Orrit, rapporteur of the EESC opinion on the subject, said with regard to the Commission's budget proposal: "We support the structure and the priorities of the proposal as well as the measures for simplification, flexibility and synergies, but a further decrease in the volume of resources, given the state of the EU economy, is not acceptable".

Mr Oettinger defended the planned budget decrease from 1.16% to 1.11% of GNI. The departure of the United Kingdom, which would result in a shortfall in income, and the unwillingness of some Member States to contribute more, formed the basis for this decision. The Commission's proposal needed to be ambitious but realistic in order to ultimately achieve unanimous agreement.

The EESC members said they could on no account accept a severe budget cut for cohesion policy or the CAP. Both policies would need to at least maintain their current budget envelope.

The Commissioner regretted the budget cuts for these programmes but considered them appropriate. The cuts were the consequence of the budget decrease and the introduction of new political priorities.

In this regard, the EESC supports the introduction of new own resources for the budget to raise revenue. It regrets that the Commission's proposal only includes a part of the proposals of the High-Level Group on Own Resources.

Related statements:

President Luca Jahier

Rapporteur Javier Doz Orrit