‘Debates concerning our proposals are just starting’ – Juncker

Today proposals surrounding the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for the seven-year period – 2021 to 2027 – were unveiled today.

Both the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Gunther Oettinger, addressed the European Parliament in Brussels earlier today.

To face down the current challenges facing the European Union, a simplified and more flexible budget is required, President Juncker explained.

He also stressed the fact that debates surrounding the proposals are only just beginning.

Addressing the parliament, President Juncker said: “The EU’s policies and programmes must be equipped with adequate financing. The level of the budget is not with consequence; it is directly linked to our ambitions.

The departure of the UK is a factor which needs to be taken into account. We have conducted a rigorous examination of all policies and we propose an ambitious, but balanced budget – one that is fair to all.

“Our proposal for the MFF for 2021 to 2027 leads to an amount of €1.279 trillion, including the European Development Fund – which previously was inter-governmental, but will now be an EU agreement complying with the EU method.

“By combining additional contributions on a limited – but necessary – basis to fund new priorities, along with a number of targeted savings, the commission is proposing a framework equating to about 1.11% of Gross National Income (GNI); which is a reasonable and responsible proposal,” he said.

‘A serious proposal’

Continuing, the president outlined that the commission wished to put forward “a serious proposal” that can represent a basis of future negotiations.

The budget we are proposing is one where every euro spent will lead to added value, compared to purely nationally-spent money – meaning that all expenditure will result in European added value.

“This budget is innovative in its structure so that our priorities become more visible, and it’s innovative in its simplification of rules to provide better synergy between the different programmes that we are proposing to reduce from 58 to 37 in number.

“This budget is innovative in the new flexibility it provides, allowing us to implement our priorities and to respond to unforeseen contingencies,” he said.

Concluding, the president said: “We are proposing a budget which innovates by attaching equal importance to our policies’ budget impacts. We can’t do that without taking into account the own resources problem and the commission is proposing that we bring in new own resources directly linked to European policies.

“Debates concerning our proposals are only just starting; these debates will take time and will be intense.”