The European Parliament will hold a debate on the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) next week, following the adoption of an Own Initiative Report drafted by Jan Olbrycht (EPP) and Isabelle Thomas (S&D). This report includes several aspects that SOLIDAR welcomes, most notably proposing reinforced investments in environmental and social issues; better integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); more focus on youth through the Erasmus+ programme; increased engagement of civil society; and more attention to democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and gender equality. In particular it is worth highlighting the call for a European Values Programme empowering civil society in EU Member States where their space is undermined. On the latter please find proposals formulated by Liberties here.
However, SOLIDAR remains deeply concerned about the future EU budget. EU scepticism is growing around the continent, which will translate into demands for less money to the EU from national budgets, while the case for the EUs own resources is hard to make. The financial transaction tax or a plastics tax are a few options drifting around, with Member States taking a reluctant stand. In anticipation of an overall reduction of the EU budget, some intend to cut structural funds, like the cohesion and social funds that benefit socio-economically vulnerable people. Without these funds these people will be left behind!