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A way forward for financing the EU budget: Mario Monti presents the First Assessment Report by the High Level Group on Own Resources

 

Today, in the margins of the European Parliament’s plenary meeting in Strasbourg, Mario Monti, chairman of the High Level Group on Own Resources, transmitted the group’s ‘First Assessment’ on the EU budget’s own resources system to the Presidents of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, of the Council Matteo Renzi and of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

The group was jointly appointed in February 2014 by the then Presidents of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, of the Council Antonis Samaras and of the Commission José Manuel Barroso. Following the European elections and the nomination of the Juncker Commission, which implied changes of the Members designated by the Commission, the Group has met in its new composition to deliver its first output.

The report depicts the present financing system of the EU budget, which is mainly based on what is perceived as national contributions rather than genuine own resources. It also describes recent reform efforts and provides guidelines for the upcoming work, in particular the criteria and broader issues which need to be examined further to create the conditions for reform. It acknowledges the great obstacles to reform the current system and aims at finding practical answers, in particular by enlarging the debate to "a comprehensive analysis of the problem, comprising economic, budgetary, institutional and political aspects", which has not been done in the past. This is only a first step as the Group will have to deliver final recommendations by 2016, in time for the Commission to be able to assess whether new legislative initiatives are appropriate.

It is the first time that these issues are discussed within an interinstitutional group, and on an equal footing: the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have nominated three members each, who bring to the group a constructive diversity of experience and reflect the variety of viewpoints on the complex issue of EU financing. The Group is chaired by Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University, former Prime Minister of Italy and European Commissioner, who has been jointly appointed by the three Presidents of the institutions.

In delivering the First Assessment Report today, Mario Monti said: "It is no doubt a challenging mandate, to come up with viable recommendations by the end of 2016. Though we know there is a general sense that the current system on own resources can be improved, previous proposals for reform have failed to bring about substantial changes. Our tentative conclusions at this stage is that we must not simply look at different potential resources technically, in isolation from the broader context, but also at the forces at work which explain why a reform can succeed or fail. I am convinced that the EU budget’s potential for supporting our common policies and bringing ‘adding value’ to EU spending remains underutilized."

Composition of the Group

Chairman (jointly appointed by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission)

Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University, former Prime Minister of Italy and European Commissioner

Members appointed by the European Parliament:

  • Ivailo Kalfin, former Member of the European Parliament, Deputy Prime-Minister of Bulgaria and Minister of Labor and Social Policy,
  • Alain Lamassoure (EPP),
  • Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE),

Members appointed by the Council:

  • Daniel Dăianu, former Member of the European Parliament and Finance Minister of Romania,
  • Clemens Fuest, President of the Centre for European Economic Research ZEW in Germany,
  • Ingrida Šimonytė, former Minister of Finance of Lithuania,

Members appointed by the Commission:

  • Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the Commission in charge of budget and human resources, who replaced former commissioners for Budget Janusz Lewandowski and Jacek Dominik.
  • Pierre Moscovici, Member of the Commission in charge of economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, who replaced former commissioner for taxation, customs, Algirdas Šemeta.
  • Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission in charge of better regulation, inter-institutional relations, rule of law and Charter of fundamental rights, who replaced former Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

Report

 

Related links:

Publication:

The EU Budget: Where does the money go? cover
The EU Budget: Where does the money go?