EU budget 2017: Every means possible needed to tackle refugee crisis

The European Commission presented its draft of the EU budget for 2017 today in the European Parliament.  The S&D Group has welcomed the Commission’s proposal to use all means possible in 2017 to tackle the refugee crisis. However, the Group believes that more funding needs to be available to deal with the root causes of the crisis. 
S&D MEP Jens Geier, the lead negotiator for the Parliament on the 2017 budget, said:
“We need to look over the details of this draft in the coming days. However, it is important to make one thing very clear - the referendum in the UK will not have an impact on the EU budget for 2017. Whilst the UK remains part of the EU, it has the same rights and obligations as any other member state. It will continue to contribute its share and its citizens and institutions will continue to benefit from EU funding as before.
“We are pleased that the Commission has listened to the Parliament’s demands and has made all means available in the 2017 budget to tackle the refugee crisis. We support the proposal by the Commission to use a special instrument to do this, using all money available in existing instruments and using money earmarked for administration and agriculture as well. We are facing an exceptional situation and we need to show that the EU budget is flexible enough to solve it.
“We will look at the proposals in more detail but we believe more money will be needed to deliver on promises in the developing world. If we are serious about tackling the refugee crisis in the long term, we need to do more to fight the root causes of migration.”
Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, S&D spokesperson for the budget committee, said:

“We are pleased that the Commission is proposing a flexible solution to ensure we have the necessary funding to tackle the refugee crisis. However, this cannot come at the expense of dealing with the other major issues that we face in Europe. Growth is still far too slow and unemployment still far too high – we cannot treat these issues as secondary concerns. We will put pressure on the Commission to find more money to boost jobs and growth inside the EU.
“Likewise the S&D Group will propose to use the budget to ensure that projects under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) continue to be funded. We will pressure the European Investment Bank to stick to the promises it made when agreeing to the EFSI deal. We need to see serious long term commitment to cross-border infrastructure and cutting edge research if Europe is to remain competitive in the 21st Century.”