On the last 2nd May, in a period full of challenges for the European Union’s future, principally the lack of United Kingdom as State Member, the European Commission presented his proposal for the European long-term budget 2021-2027.
The budget proposed by the European Commission amounts to €1,135 billion over the period 2021-2027, that correspond to 1,11% of the EU27’s GNI (Gross National Income). One of the main innovation is related to the integration into the EU budget of the European Development Fund, the EU’s main tool for financing development cooperation with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific. This tool is intended to replace and absorb all the intergovernmental agreements signed until today.
The budget planned for the next 7 years will increase the economic resources in many areas: among them, Research & Innovation (R&I), Youth, Digital Economy, Border Management, Security and Defence. It is also proposed a doubling of the budget assigned to the Erasmus + Programme and the development of the European Solidarity Corps.
The European Commission proposal includes a small cut of 5% to the Common Agricultural Policy and the Cohesion Policy resources to reflect the new reality of a Union at 27, using these savings in order to be more efficient in specific fields where European Union intervention can play an essential role for their improvement. These policies will be modernised, with the purpose to deliver with less and even serve new priorities. For example, Cohesion Policy will play a significant role in supporting structural reforms and in the long-term integration of migrants.
The long-term Budget also reduces the number of European Programmes by more than a third, passing from 58 to 37, integrating more fragmented programmes in one. It is also included the strengthening of InvestEU Fund to support investments in Europe and abroad.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today is an important moment for our Union. The new budget is an opportunity to shape our future as a new, ambitious Union of 27 bound together by solidarity. With today’s proposal, we have put forward a pragmatic plan for how to do more with less. The economic wind in our sails gives us some breathing space but does not shelter us from having to make savings in some areas. We will ensure sound financial management through the first ever rule of law mechanism. This is what it means to act responsibly with our taxpayers’ money. The ball is now in the court of Parliament and Council. I strongly believe we should aim to have an agreement before the European Parliament elections next year.”
Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger in charge of Budget and Human Resources said: “This budget proposal is truly about EU added value. We invest even more in areas where one single Member State cannot act alone or where it is more efficient to act together – be it research, migration, border control or defence. And we continue to finance traditional – but modernised – policies, such as Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy, because we all benefit from the high standard of our agricultural products and regions catching up economically.”
The decision about the long-term EU budget will be taken by the European Council, with a unanimous decision, under the consent of European Parliament. An agreement should be reached before the European Parliaments elections in 2019, as wished by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.