MEP’s on Wednesday rejected the next long-term EU budget deal agreed by European leaders earlier in February.
Adopted by an outstanding majority, the resolution will give European Parliament’s President Martin Schulz enough room to negotiate and obtain concessions from EU leaders.
“The Parliament wants to be taken as a serious partner. We are prepared to negotiate; this is an offer now, from the EP to the Council, to come to compromises and to improve the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)’, said European Parliament’s president Martin Schulz.
‘The battle has begun and the Parliament is still on its feet. This is going to be a long battle and a very tough one’.
‘We all know that the Council only reached unanimity because each country felt that they had a guarantee on the amount of money that would be coming back to them. But they can’t get that guarantee from the Council alone. So, all of this is going to be questioned now by our legislative instances’, said Chair of the EP Committee on Budgets Alain Lamassoure.
While the parliament is no longer challenging the amount of money available for EU expenditure, which the Council capped at 960 billion euros, MEPs want a more flexible budget. This would allow Brussels to use available unspent funds in different areas.
The resolution also highlights the growing problem of payment shortfalls, which can jeopardize EU funded projects in research and innovation.
‘We don’t want to see the EU going in the direction of a deficit Union. We want to discuss about more flexibility within this multiannual budget, flexibility between the categories and between the years, and a revision clause. Because the figures the Council adopted are the figures of 2005, 8 years ago. And they should be prolonged to 2020. It is easy to understand that in 2020 nobody will fulfil the duties of the EU with the amount of 2005. Therefore a revision clause is for the EP vital and you saw it in the resolution’, said European Parliament’s president Martin Schulz.
The resolution was backed by the leaders of all political groups in the parliament. Only the European Conservatives and Reformist group of UK Prime Minister David Cameron rejected it.
The Irish Presidency will now propose a roadmap for discussion. Those could start in April and could be concluded by the summer.