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."
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:
Members appointed by the Council:
Members appointed by the Commission: