Revision of EU multiannual financial framework (MFF) urgent to tackle current challenges caused by multiple crises
Commission’s proposal for a revision needs more ambition
MEPs add €10 billion for 2024-2027 to boost areas like migration, external challenges, the EU’s strategic autonomy, and to enhance the EU’s crisis-response capabilities
On Wednesday, the Budgets Committee set out its position on the reform of the EU’s long-term budget, emphasizing the urgency to future-proof the EU budget.
Following the Commission’s proposal for a mid-term revision on the EU’s long-term budget, members of the Committee on Budgets endorsed an extra €10 billion for the years 2024-2027.
Addressing pressing challenges
In light of recent external challenges, especially the Russian war against Ukraine and growing migration issues, MEPs bolstered the relevant budgetary areas by €2 billion. They have allocated an additional €3 billion towards the new "Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform" (STEP) and earmarked €5 billion to enhance the EU's ability to respond to unforeseen crises.
As for the debt payments resulting from the Recovery plan, MEPs demand that they be positioned above the EU’s budgetary caps. This is to ensure that EU programmes benefiting citizens are not compromised, especially given the potential volatility of these costs with rising interest rates.
MEPs stress that a swift adoption of the amended regulation is key, as the revised MFF should be operational by 1 January 2024 to offer a framework for that year's annual budget.
The draft interim report on the proposal for a mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 was approved by 23 votes against 3 and 3 abstentions.
Co-rapporteur Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL) said: “Parliament's report, both ambitious and realistic, advocates for increased support in the budget areas that need it most: flexibility, migration, and competitiveness. We applaud the structural and longer-term solution of giving Ukraine support but stress the importance of Parliament maintaining its authority on how this support is allocated. The STEP initiative is a step in the right direction and could serve as a pilot project for the next MFF's enhanced support for competitiveness and sovereignty. The Commission’s stance on handling the recovery plan debt is disappointing. All debt costs should be placed over and above the EU budget’s ceilings. Our proposal aims to adapt the EU budget to contemporary challenges and equip it with the tools for swift crisis response. We remain firm on implementing the revised MFF by 1 January 2024.”
Co-rapporteur Margarida Marques (S&D, PT) said: “The Parliament guarantees EU support for Ukraine and seeks to mitigate the social and economic impact of the war within the EU. Moreover, we aim to secure the necessary financial resources to bolster the EU's strategic autonomy, implement the Migration Pact, and address the complex geopolitical landscape in a world where we must all be part of the green and digital transitions. Additionally, we ensure the budget possesses the adequate flexibility to address emerging needs, respond to humanitarian crises, and assist Member States and citizens grappling with the increasing effects of natural disasters. We urge the Council to expedite its decision-making and join the negotiating table.”
The text will be voted on by the full house on 4 October in Strasbourg. Parliament’s negotiators will then be ready to engage in discussions with the Council (member states), which is yet to finalise its stance on the package.
The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) sets the annual limits (expenditure ‘ceilings’) on EU commitments in different policy areas (broad categories of spending called 'headings') and on overall annual payments for a period of seven years. The current framework for 2021-2027 was adopted in 2020 and provides for a review of the functioning of the MFF, with, where appropriate, proposals for a revision, by 1 January 2024. The European Commission proposed a mid-term revision on 20 June 2023.