Testing next long-term budget goals against EU added value
Erasmus Plus and Horizon post-2020 are the only common programmes excluded from cuts
Maria Koleva, Brussels
12 January, 2018
Photo © European Union
Commissioner Oettinger believes that agreeing on the future EU budget before EP elections in spring of 2019 is challenging, but not impossible.
The design of the next EU long-term budget post-2020 is one of the pressing topics in the Commission programme for this year. On Wednesday, at its first for 2018 meeting, the College of Commissioners held the first orientation debate on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). Gunther Oettinger, commissioner in charge of budget and human resources, received backing from his colleagues that all existing programmes in the EU budget will be cut and must be tested against EU added value. Just two programmes were excluded from cuts. Two programmes in particular we would like to protect from any cuts - Erasmus Plus and Horizon post-2020, Commissioner Oettinger explained, noting that for these two initiatives more money are needed. These are the two priorities for the future, he asserted.
Budget commissioner also warned that there will be two financial gaps in the next MFF. The first is Brexit, which will mean €12-14bn less every year after transitional period. This gap will be covered by 50% cuts to the current budgetary structure and the other 50% will be made up by complementary additional income from the remaining 27 Member States. More money will be needed for the new tasks as migration, border control and development. In terms of the new financial resources, he informed that the Commission will propose very few new financial instruments - new tax on plastic and shifting income of Emission Trading System from nation level to EU level. He also believes that agreeing on the future EU budget before EP elections in spring of 2019 is challenging but not impossible if all Member States commit to this objective.
The future of the long term budget was widely discussed the previous two days in Brussels at a high-level conference hosted by Commissioner Oettinger and the Commission's in-house think tank - EPSC.
In his speech, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted that Europe goes a lot further than just an internal market and the construction of the Monetary Union. We should have a debate on the substance of the matter, the contents and then on the funding of agreed political ambitions and aims, he urged.
Many ministers from the Member States, MEPs and other officials from the EU institutions, people from academia and the banking sector, had their say on the topic. Nadia Calvino, EC DG Budget director general emphasised on the need of a holistic approach to the EU added value. On behalf of the ongoing Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, Minister Lilyana Pavlova underlined that it is widely recognised that the key pre-condition for effectiveness is the need for simplification of ESIF and a radical shift in policy focus from compliance and control to performance and results. She also added that investments in economic growth and jobs are a never-ending priority.
We need to focus more on the objectives and desired results, instead on formalities, procedures, documents and receipts, Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Cretu said, mentioning that on the road to an ever growing European integration, economic, social and territorial cohesion has been a cornerstone.