Budget committee calls for more EU funding in wake of #Brexit
Discussions on the EU's next long-term budget, the first since Brexit, are starting. On 22 February Parliament's budget committee backed a call for more funding.
The EU’s next long-term budget, also known as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), is due to start after 2020 and run for a period of at least five years. However, this time the negotiations will be trickier and the outcome more unpredictable: due to the UK leaving the EU the budget will have a funding gap of about €13 billion per year, according to estimates by the European Commission.
Parliament, which will need to approve the budget, has outlined it own ideas for the nex budget. Its draft report, adopted by the budget committee on 22 February, calls for the budget to be increased from 1% of the EU's national income to 1.3% in order to plug the funding gap created by Brexit and also to be better able to tackle new challenges.
“We don’t want the EU’s budget to take on a life of its own. It’s a question of rescuing the EU’s budget. If we rescue the budget and preserve it, we will also save the European Union,” said French S&D members Isabelle Thomas, one of the MEPs involved in preparing Parliament's position, during the budget committee debate on 19 February.
Polish EPP member Jan Olbrycht, one of the other MEPs involved in preparing Parliament's position, said the debate about the long-term budget was all about the EU's policies: “It’s a political debate concerning the future of the EU after Brexit, and it’s not just about how much it’s going to cost, but also what we would like to do after Brexit together.”
The report also calls for significantly increased the funding for research and the popular Erasmus+ programme, as well as for initiatives to fight youth unemployment and support small and medium-sized enterprises.
New ways to fund the budget
At the moment most of the EU's budget comes from contributions by member states. If EU countries are reluctant to pay more, then MEPs believe the EU institutions should have more opportunities to raise its own funding.
Also on 22 February, the budget committee adopted a report by Belgian ALDE member Gérard Deprez and Polish EPP member Janusz Lewandowski, which calls for the creation of new ways for the EU to finance itself, such as corporate income tax, environmental taxes, a financial transaction tax at European level and a special taxation of companies in the digital sector.
On 23 February Parliament President Antonio Tajani will outline the proposals by the budget committee to the heads of government of every EU country apart from the UK at an informal Council summit in Brussels.
All MEPs will still have vote on the proposals by the budget committee during March's plenary session in Strasbourg. Meanwhile the European Commission will publish its proposals in May in the hope that an agreement on the budget can be reached within 12 months.
In addition to the annual budget, the EU sets a long-term budget for a period of at least five years.
The current long-term, covering 2014-2020, amounts to €963.5 billion
In recent years Parliament has fought to make the budget more flexible to better meet challenges such as the debt crisis in the eurozone, the migration crisis and security matters
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