S&D Budget Newsletter - May 2017

Isabelle Thomas

NEWSLETTER MAY 2017

 

 

1. Editorial

FR

La révision du Cadre financier pluriannuel, succès et précédent historique

Négocié en 2013, le cadre budgétaire de l’Union pour 2014-2020 a été rendu largement obsolète par les événements survenus ces dernières années en Europe. Les défis du chômage des jeunes, des migrations, de l’investissement, mais aussi la sécurité et la défense, la crise agricole et le Brexit ont démontré sa rigidité et son sous-dimensionnement chronique. Une révision budgétaire s’imposait donc pour surmonter ces limites et rendre à l’Europe une partie de sa capacité d’action.

Conscients des limites du cadre financier voté en 2013, les Socialistes et Démocrates avaient mené la bataille pour qu’il puisse être révisé à mi-parcours. En 2016, face à l’urgence, nous avons fait pression et obtenu, d'abord un réexamen, puis la révision arrachée au Conseil. Elle porte tout confondu sur 6 milliards d’euros pour la période 2017-2020, soit 3 milliards supplémentaires sur la flexibilité budgétaire et 3 milliards possibles d’augmentations budgétaires, dont 1,2 milliard dans la lutte contre le chômage des jeunes et le reste pour les migrations et la sécurité.

Adoptée à 470 voix contre 166 par le Parlement, cette  révision indispensable à court terme marque un précédent historique et un succès dont le Parlement et notre groupe peuvent se féliciter. Sous l’impulsion de la commission des budgets, déjouant les pronostics fatalistes, le Parlement a pleinement joué son rôle de codécideur et, au-delà, un rôle d’initiateur que les traités ne prévoient pas. Le Conseil doit maintenant adopter la révision sans tarder, les élections britanniques ne pouvant servir de prétexte à de nouveaux délais.

Nous regrettons néanmoins la frilosité des gouvernements qui ont limité la révision alors que le budget de l'Union demeure insuffisant au regard des nouveaux domaines dans lesquels il doit intervenir. Pour permettre à l’Union de faire face aux défis en cours, elle a besoin d’une réforme audacieuse de son système de financement par des ressources propres. Les Socialistes et Démocrates devront se montrer fermes et déterminés lors des négociations des futurs budgets annuels et de la prochaine programmation budgétaire, pour reconstruire un budget sérieux et sincère qui réponde aux priorités.

Isabelle Thomas

Députée européenne
Vice-présidente des Socialistes et Démocrates au Parlement européen en charge du budget, de la politique de cohésion, de l’agriculture et de la pêche
Co-rapporteure sur la révision du Cadre financier pluriannuel 2014-2020

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EN

The revision of the Multi-annual Financial Framework, success and historical precedent

Negotiated in 2013, the budgetary framework of the Union for 2014-2020 has been largely overtaken by the events of the past few years in Europe. The challenges the European Union has been facing concerning youth unemployment, migration, investments, but also security and defence, the agricultural crisis and Brexit, have demonstrated its rigidity and chronic underfinancing. A budgetary revision has been therefore necessary to overcome these limitations and to restore to Europe its capacity for action.

Aware of the limits of the financial framework voted in 2013, the Socialists and Democrats had led the battle so that it could be revised at mid-term. In 2016, facing emergency situations, we pressed for and obtained, first a review, then the revision of the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), pulled off from the Council. The MFF comprises about 6 billion euros for the period 2017-2020, which means an additional 3 billion euros on budgetary flexibility and 3 billion euros on budgetary increases, including 1.2 billion euros for the fight against youth unemployment, and the rest allocated to tackling migration and security policies.

Adopted by 470 votes to 166 by the European Parliament, this revision, essential in the short term, marks an historical precedent and a big success, which the European Parliament and our group can be proud of. Under the impetus of the Committee on Budgets, defeating fatalistic prognoses, the European Parliament has fully played its role as co-decision-maker and, beyond that, a role of initiator, which the Treaties do not foresee. The Council must now adopt the revision without delay, without using the British elections as a pretext to postpone it even longer.

We regret, however, the reluctance of the governments which have limited the review, while the budget of the Union remains insufficient in the light of the new areas in which it must intervene. To enable the Union to face the ongoing challenges, the Union needs a bold reform of its financing system by its own resources. The Socialists and Democrats will have to be firm and determined in the future negotiations of annual budgets and of the next budgetary programming, in order to rebuild a stable and realistic budget that address the priorities.

Isabelle Thomas

Member of the European Parliament
Vice President of the
Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament Responsible for the portfolios: budget, cohesion policy, agriculture and fisheries
Co-rapporteur on the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020

2. Contribution from MEPs on key issues

2.1 Why national contributions to the EU budget should not be counted when calculating budgetary deficits

The EU works under tight budgetary constraints. We have many excellent programmes, such as Erasmus Plus, that create European added value, especially for the youth. These programmes are strongly underfinanced and we have to refuse good applications because we simply don’t have the financial resources to fund them. As Socialists and Democrats, we fight to increase the resources for these important priorities as well as for strong investments in the future of the EU.

At the same time, the European Commission bullies Member States to comply with the sacrosanct threshold of 3% spending deficit per year as the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). Few countries are able to comply, especially since the Financial Crisis hit them. I don’t see much point in the 3 Percent criteria in general. For instance, I’ve never heard a justification for why a 2.8% spending deficit is fine whereas a 3.2% deficit is not.

But being a member of the Budget Committee, it seems especially contradictory to me to ask Member States on the one hand to agree to a reasonable European budget that finances our priorities, while at the same time ask them for budgetary austerity. I came to know the arguments from the Council, who constantly tries to push for savings. To a certain extent, it is understandable that finance ministers oppose more European spending. After all, they need to comply with the demands of the Commission.

I believe we need to stop taking into account the national contributions when calculating the deficit of national budgets. This way, finance ministers have one less excuse when it comes to negotiating the European budget. And maybe then, they could agree to a real European investment programme.

Jens Geier

Member of the European Parliament
Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgets

 
2.2 EU budget and investments in clean energy for islands

Among EU regions, islands are the most affected by climate change, even as they experience problems in accessing secure energy supplies.

In February 2015, the European Commission presented a Communication setting up a framework strategy for creating an Energy Union. Commission and Parliament agreed to give priority to the EU Climate Agenda, which promotes the use of renewable sources in the provision of clean energy. Last year, the Commission published a legislative proposal to develop this strategy.

Within such a context, the EU budget also needs to give attention to the energy needs of islands.

Often located at the EU’s periphery, their insularity is a major disadvantage when tapping energy markets. Yet, some islands have still pursued ambitious sustainable energy and climate projects, gaining worldwide recognition as examples of best energy practice.

It is key to support their efforts, and to help them share their achievements.

Commendably, EU islands, supported by dedicated measures within the EU budget, are collaborating on the dual front of energy security and climate change.

In this setting, last year, with the support of my colleagues Tonino Picula and Michela Giuffrida, I submitted a proposal for a Preparatory Action.

The action aims at strengthening cooperation on climate issues among islands, and will be officially launched by the European Commission later this month.

Alfred Sant

Member of the European Parliament
Substitute member - Committee on Budgets

3. Conference with Socialist and Social Democratic national parliamentarians for discussing the future financing of the EU budget

European Parliament in Brussels - 28 June 2017

On the 28th of June, the S&D Group will host a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels, where the Socialist and Social Democratic members from the EU national parliaments will be invited for discussing the EU budget, its future financing and the current crises that it has to face.

This event will also aim at strengthening relations between the different national parliamentarians of our political group with a view of consolidating a common position on key issues concerning the EU budget, such as the framing of the post-2020 Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the reform of the Own Resources system.

Starting at 15:00, the first panel will be chaired by Ms. Isabelle Thomas, S&D Vice President on Budget and Cohesion Policy, while the second one will be presided by Ms. Eider Gardiazábal Rubial, S&D Coordinator in the Committee on Budgets. The event will continue at 17:30 with a cocktail reception, where the members from the national parliaments will have the opportunity to network until 18:30.

The conference will take place in room PHS3C050 of the Paul-Henry Spaak Building, where interpretation for all languages will be provided.

4. Key dates

15 May 2017 - votes on EFSI 2 and EFSI implementation report; Trilogues will follow

30 May 2017 - presentation of the 2018 EU Budget by the Commission

5. Recent tweets

 

https://twitter.com/Isabel_thomasEU/status/849540779987152896

https://twitter.com/Isabel_thomasEU/status/849605313888235521

6.  Inside the Committee on Budgets

Isabelle Thomas’ intervention during the debate ahead of the vote on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) revision