European Parliament must play decisive role in Coronavirus recovery plan

Now that our economies are slowly coming out of quarantine, so should European democracy; it is a precondition for a successful recovery, writes Manfred Weber.
MEP Manfred Weber | Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

By Manfred Weber

19 May 2020

The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is the embodiment of our European values and positively affects the lives of millions of Europeans every day.

The pandemic is a perfect storm for the EU budget. The crisis puts enormous financial pressure on Member States, as it increases government spending and lowers tax income everywhere.

The financing of the European budget without putting pressure on national finances, with own resources, is more pertinent than ever.


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Besides the MFF, Europe will need a massive recovery plan, to soften the impact of the economic crisis that we still have in front of us.

Slowly but surely we are getting details on what the recovery plan and the next MFF should look like, but we are still waiting for the proposal.

In the EPP Group we have one clear overarching objective in mind, and that is to safeguard the position of the European Parliament in the design, agreement and implementation of the recovery plan.

If we are not involved in the recovery plan, we will not approve the MFF. We are profoundly convinced that any budget must have democratic legitimacy based on a parliamentary majority.

"In the EPP Group we have one clear overarching objective in mind, and that is to safeguard the position of the European Parliament in the design, agreement and implementation of the recovery plan"

Without this, Europe would turn its back on the people, and breach its contract of representing them in the first crisis after last year’s European elections.

The MFF and the recovery plan are politically inseparable.

We want to make sure that any future budget plans breathe the spirit of solidarity with the most affected regions and people, and in particular the younger generations.

I think, for example, of Nicole, a 23-year-old from Italy. She had a fixed-term contract until March that was not renewed. She volunteered with the Italian Civil Protection to deliver masks and groceries to COVID patients who were isolated at home.

There are millions of people like Nicole, and after they have cared for the ill or fragile, we should care for them. Europe cannot leave her generation behind. Europe cannot turn its back on these brave young people.

Since the start of the lockdown, everyone has been looking at statistics, curves and graphs. But this crisis is not about numbers, it is about people. Their courage in the face of this horrible virus and their pain and suffering as it takes lives indiscriminately.

"The financing of the European budget without putting pressure on national finances, with own resources, is more pertinent than ever"

It is about the nurse in Madrid, who was infected while taking care of patients, the doctor in Bergamo who had to make life and death decisions, the shopkeeper in Strasbourg, or the young researcher in Tübingen who is working day and night to find a cure. They are the real heroes of this health crisis.

Let us be inspired by the courage of the millions of people that have put the lives and needs of others before their own.

We owe it to the citizens of Europe, to represent them, support and protect them in this crisis.

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