This week saw a series of events concerning the EU’s budget after 2020. On Monday and Tuesday, Commissioner Oettinger hosted a high-level conference “Shaping Our Future: Designing the Next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)” where Commissioners, President Juncker and national (finance) ministers discussed their respective priorities when it comes to funding the EU’s work. Wide discrepancies as to the size of the future budget and its composition became apparent.
In his State of the Union speech on 13 September 2017, the President of the European Commission laid out his roadmap towards the European Summit in May 2019. Earlier in 2017, the Reflection Paper on the Future of EU Finances had sparked a debate on “the EU´s budgetary needs to sustain Europe’s prosperity and security”. The MFF lays down the maximum annual amounts which the EU may spend each year in different policy fields over a period of at least five years. The current MFF covers the period 2014 to 2020. Each annual budget must comply with this framework, facing the tough challenge of funding more with less.
On Wednesday, the College of Commissioners held a first orientation debate on the next Multiannual Financial Framework ahead of the presentation of the Commission's proposals in May 2018.
The Commission launched a series of public consultations on the priorities of the EU that should be reflected in the next MFF. SOLIDAR and its members will actively contribute, especially on EU funds in the area of Cohesion, as in SOLIDAR’s opinion an adequate budget for the European Social Fund (ESF), the Employment and Social Innovation programme (EaSI) and youth-related funds is vital to improve social cohesion in Europe.
On Wednesday, Civil Society Europe (CSE) members gathered to engage in dialogue with the European Parliament on the MFF after 2020. MEP Isabelle Thomas, as co-rapporteur, gave insight into the draft initiative EP report prepared with Jan Olbrycht, and responded to questions and comments from NGOs from the youth, cultural, education, environmental, development, human rights, and social sector. CSE and its members presented their views on key issues for debate such as the size of the future budget, the EU added value of future initiatives, achieving a balance between flexibility and predictability, promoting fundamental rights and democracy through specific instruments in external and internal policies, ensuring a holistic vision of security with adequate investments in social inclusion, education, and culture, sustainability and environmental protection as a cross cutting issue.
SOLIDAR will participate in the third EESC meeting on “Tackling poverty and social exclusion under the next MFF: the role of a ‘ESF+’ ” which will take place on 19 January, starting at 9:30 a.m.