European budget. Disgruntled MEPs who let it be known

The European Parliament adopted with a large majority on Thursday a resolution to express its disagreement with the draft budget adopted at the last European summit in Brussels.

In the European Parliament, a political resolution supported by no less than five political groups, ranging from the Radical Left (GUE) to the Right (EPP), marks Thursday, July 23, 2020 the mistrust of MEPs on the European budget proposal, released after four long days of negotiation at the start of the week.

Of course, the European recovery plan is recognized as historical by many MEPs, because for the first time Member States have agreed to issue a common debt of 750 billion euros. But most elected officials are furious at the cuts made in the long-term budget (multiannual financial framework, MFF), amounting to 1,074 billion euros, over seven years, adopted on the same occasion.

The text of the resolution, adopted by 465 votes to 150 (and 67 abstentions), is deemed energetic by François-Xavier Bellamy, of the Republicans (PPE), made Sylvie Guillaume (PS – S & D) say that this resolution is firm and contains terms we are not used to in a text carried by so many political groups ”.

The arrival that very morning of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, was not enough to reassure MEPs, who will have difficulty swallowing the budget cuts decided by the heads of state and government, as he has noticed. in her speech after the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

However, the final vote of the European Parliament on the budget and the recovery plan, essential for their implementation, should take place in several months, October if the negotiations advance quickly.

Towards a budget battle

Voting strongly for this resolution means giving yourself the means to say that if it does not suit us, we will vote against the budget, warns David Cormand (EELV – Les Verts). The ecologist even believes that it will be necessary to go towards a crisis situation, otherwise I do not see how we will move the Council, which behaves quite contemptuously towards Parliament. It is the only weapon that MEPs have.

This budget proposal does not correspond to the height of the situation we are living with the health and economic crisis, regrets Manuel Bompard (LFI – GUE), who recalls that the European Parliament previously requested 2,000 billion euros for a recovery plan ”.

MEPs also have the impression that in order to pass the debt together with the recovery plan, a first at European level, we had to use the budget as a bargaining chip to convince the tight-fisted countries, explains the socialist Sylvie Guillaume, whose third term is. With the resulting cuts (research, Erasmus, rural development), it is not possible for us to validate this budget proposed by the governments.

But will MEPs follow through on their threats? The European Parliament has bulged its torso too many times in the past, recognizes the Insubordinate Manuel Bompard. This time he must go to the end.

Especially since in addition to the European budget, MEPs will have their say on one aspect of the recovery plan, the regulation called recovery resilience facility. Clearly, it will require the agreement of the European Parliament on the definition of the criteria for the destination of the recovery plan.

For Valérie Hayer (LREM – Renew Europe), this resolution reminds us on certain points that we are not satisfied and want to start negotiations with the Council. As in 2013, where we finally obtained an agreement with additional funds and the commitment of a mid-term review, explains the one who is in the negotiating team of the institution on the budget.

Concerns about own resources

In addition to budget cuts, the vagueness around own resources is also alarming European elected officials. Since the 1980s, the European budget has been made up almost entirely of national contributions, the money that the Member States are willing to give to the European Union. Most MEPs have been calling for several legislatures for the introduction of European taxes so that the EU is no longer dependent on the goodwill of states and that it knows better how much it has for its budget.

If there are no new resources, we will have taken from one pocket to put back in the other, summarizes the ecologist David Cormand. If the European budget remains financed by national contributions, there will be no added value to the agreement reached at the last European summit.

For many elected officials, the tax on non-recycled plastics will not be enough to help repay the loan taken to finance the recovery plan, and calls for a legally binding timetable on the introduction of new resources, which include carbon revenues and a digital tax.

For Valérie Hayer, co-rapporteur on this issue of own resources, there was a commitment at the last summit to ensure the repayment of this joint loan. But the timetable is not binding, and we MEPs want the launch of these own resources to be rapid. It will be a determining element for us in these negotiations, she believes. We want the digital giants, Chinese companies that pollute and companies that practice tax evasion to participate in solidarity on our continent through European taxes.

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