Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU budget 2014:
- extracts from the press conference by Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR), Ivailon KALFIN (S&D, BG) and Anne JENSEN (ALDE DK), rapporteurs
Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
End production: 13/03/2013 First transmission: 13/03/2013
Parliament's mandate to negotiate the EU budget for 2014-2020 with the EU member states' Irish Presidency was approved in a resolution on Wednesday. Parliament rejects the 8 February European Council conclusions in their current form. The resolution - prepared by the group leaders of the EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens and GUE/NGL - was adopted by 506 votes to 161, with 23 abstentions. The resolution highlights the growing problem of payment shortfalls, which prevent bills being paid and jeopardize EU programmes. The EU cannot legally run a deficit. The resolution gives Parliament's negotiators a strong mandate to ensure that the MFF is flexible enough to allow available funds to be used optimally. Parliament also calls for a mid-term review of MFF spending, so as to give the newly-elected Parliament and Commission an opportunity to influence the budgets that they will inherit from today's legislators. Furthermore, Parliament makes the case for a system of genuine own resources to fund the EU budget and stresses that all EU expenditure should go through the budget. The informal negotiations should result in a regulation laying down the MFF, for which parliament's consent is required, as well as an inter-institutional agreement between Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Parliament is negotiating the legal bases for the various EU programmes in parallel, but for these, Parliament and the Council decide on the basis of co-decision. If there is no agreement by the start of 2014, the MFF ceilings from 2013, adjusted for inflation, will apply.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Strasbourg
||Arrival to the press conference, taking the seat.
||SOUNDBITE (French) Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR) Chair of the EP Committee on Budgets: "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. It's going to be a long battle because contrary to last time round, the Lisbon Treaty applies. The European Parliament has legislative powers and the co-decision on all of the reallocation and appropriation measures: reallocation between member states and also between policy areas. This is something new which, despite our repeated warnings, the Council deliberately ignored. That means our legislative committees can amend the criteria for reallocating money between policy areas, and I am sure they will do so".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR) Chair of the EP Committee on Budgets: "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".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ivailon KALFIN (S&D, BG), rapporteur: "The biggest problem of the Parliament is that with these particular conclusions, and with this particular financial framework there is a huge discrepancy between political ambitions of the EU and the instruments in the budget to achieve it".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ivailon KALFIN (S&D, BG), rapporteur: "This is very much in the interest of the European taxpayers, to have a budget which is predictable, which could be implemented, which is not going to make the European institutions enter into deficit, because this is not allowed, and a budget that could be bearable for the taxpayers without having the need to compensate some payments like it is the case this year".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Anne JENSEN (ALDE DK), rapporteur: "We would like to see that member states see the EU budget not just as a cost but view it with the sense of seeing what is European added value. What should be on the budget? We should have support for agriculture if it's good for agriculture and not because it's good for some member states that they get more money that way. That's why we need a road map for new own resources, so that we will have a clear commitment from the Council to negotiate this and find out how can we create a system that is fair, transparent and understandable and without these rebates we see today".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR) Chair of the EP Committee on Budgets: "You have 27 payers handing out 27 checks to each other... that simply cannot go on. It went on whilst the negotiations only happened between government and the 'diplomatic custom' was observed; observers thought it was normal and even in the Parliament we didn't dare to protest".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR) Chair of the EP Committee on Budgets: "But we have the Lisbon Treaty, now we have a democratic system. Now the parliament has budgetary authority. And when it comes to the Parliament, well then we must have transparency, Parliament means debate, and public votes. If we talk about handing money to whichever region or country, is not because they have effective and shadowy diplomats, or because they need vote on a certain area, it will be because that country or region has actually fulfilled the criteria required."