As committed during the negotiations on the long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission has on 20 June 2023 completed its proposal for a next generation of own resources. The package includes a new temporary statistical own resource based on company profits. The Commission also proposes to adjust the own resources proposals based on the Emissions Trading System (ETS) and Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) compared to the original proposals from December 2021.
Multiannual Financial Framework after 2020 - Related Opinions
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The EESC has issued key recommendations for the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. The Committee calls for a prompt agreement on the MFF revision still this year, to guarantee continued financial backing of Ukraine and financing the EU´s evolving political priorities. However, the EESC criticizes the proposed changes as being too limited and lacking ambition, resembling mere patches. It advocates for long-term strategies centred on fiscal sustainability, efficient resource allocation, and measures to guard against unexpected events. Civil society should be engaged for effective planning and monitoring of MFF programmes.
The EESC emphasises that the designing of proposals for new sources of own revenues should be done in context of the budgetary pressures faced by Member States following the pandemic and the ongoing international tensions. This has become all the more important in the current higher interest rate environment. The EESC also emphasises that the second set of own resources measures should be in line with the proportionality and social fairness principles. An EU-wide tax on digital transactions could be potentially considered to increase own resources in case the agreed rules of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework are not respected by other major trading partners.
EESC believes that there is a need to have a clear and structured view of which funds are targeted to tackle climate change and how they are managed. With an approved budget of over EUR 330 billion in the current programming period, cohesion policy is the largest and most important investment tool in Europe. As 30% of both the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will need to be spent on projects for decarbonising our economy, cohesion policy has a crucial role in tackling climate change. Moreover, funds will also be made available under NGEU, as the green transition is one of the main targets of recovery and resilience after COVID-19.
The EESC considers that it is necessary to add new own resources to cover the debt repayment resulting from borrowing under the NextGenerationEU initiative without jeopardising the budgets of other EU programmes and instruments, or substantially increasing the Gross National Income (GNI)-based resource contribution. Although the Commission proposals as set out in the communication are deemed necessary, EESC believes that the Commission should ensure that the design of the new system is based on achieving equity and fairness, efficiency, transparency, simplicity and stability, with a focus on competitiveness and applying solidarity where necessary.
The Own Resources Decision (ORD) entered into force on 1 June, enabling the Commission to start borrowing resources for the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument. For the EESC, a well-functioning funding strategy is key for the smooth implementation of NGEU. Sound and sustainable funding and solid risk management are in the very interests of civil society. Moreover, borrowing and debt management has to be based on democratic control, legitimacy and transparency.
The EESC stresses how important it is that the Commission manage the funding strategy directly and does not outsource this. The massive engagement on capital markets will be accompanied with a broad set of risks. The EESC supports the establishment of solid risk-management systems and the holding of the 'NGEU account' with the ECB.
The EESC welcomes the new vision for the ERA agenda and is pleased that this is a real "New Deal" for the EU's research, technology and innovation.
The EESC strongly supports the Commission's proposal – Next Generation EU – as a specific tool for a quick and effective recovery.
The EESC takes a very positive view of the Commission's two main decisions:
- to introduce an extraordinary financial recovery instrument as part of the multiannual financial framework
- to raise common debt, which will be repaid over a long period of time, and prevent the extraordinary financial burden from falling directly on the Member States in the short run.
The EESC strongly welcomes the fact that the newly proposed instrument should be closely coordinated with the European Semester process, and furthermore welcomes the Commission's proposal to introduce additional genuine own resources based on different taxes (revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System, digital taxation, large companies' revenues).
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