On 2 May, the Commission will propose the next long-term budget for the EU, otherwise known as the multiannual financial framework (MFF).
Ahead of the announcement about the EU’s spending priorities for the coming years, two separate groups have put forward a wish list of demands they say must be taken into account in the post-2020 budget.
The first comprises business associations, civil society and think tanks which have urged Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to make the future EU budget “fully compatible” with the Paris agreement and the EU’s sustainable development goals.
A letter calls on Juncker to “significantly increase” the current 20 per cent climate action share of the EU budget and to ensure that EU funds add to member states’ efforts to achieve the 2030 and 2050 climate objectives.
Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, said climate change is increasingly perceived by European leaders as a global threat that the EU budget should address. On 22 March at a conference on sustainable finance, Juncker stressed that the EU must go further towards aligning financial flows with climate objectives. At the same event, French President Emmanuel Macron called for the next EU budget to earmark 40 per cent of its spending for climate action and the ecological transition.
Trio said, “It is clear for us that the future EU budget must live up to the huge challenges posed by climate change. EU institutions cannot claim that they are doing everything they can to comply with the Paris agreement while continuing to fund fossil fuels. At the same time, the EU budget has a huge untapped potential to catalyse the clean energy and mobility transition.
“A credible EU budget must address the common and long-term challenges Europeans are faced with: climate change is one of them. Higher European climate and energy targets for 2030, particularly in less developed regions, will only be met if they are supported by a 40 per cent climate action spending target.”
Meanwhile, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is calling for the Commission to recognise the importance of the European maritime fisheries fund (EMFF) in the post-2020 EU budget.
CPMR President Vasco Cordeiro said, “The results of the common fisheries policy have been positive in recent years. It is now crucial that fisheries and blue growth receive full attention in the upcoming legislative package for the post 2020 EU budget, and the MFF is given an ambitious budget”.
Elsewhere, MEPs have set out their position on the next long-term EU budget, saying it should finance new priorities as well as make up for any shortfall caused by Brexit.
Two resolutions provide Parliament’s contribution to the current debate about the budget. The adoption of a new MFF will require Parliament’s consent.
MEPs say the budget must address “new challenges facing all member states”, including migration, defence, security and climate change. They consider that the current limit on EU expenditure needs to be raised from one per cent to 1.3 per cent of EU gross national income, in order to be able to fund new priority areas “without sacrificing Europe’s regions or farming communities.”
Key parliamentary budget proposals include boosting research programmes, Erasmus+, the Youth Employment Initiative and support for SMEs.
The next multi-annual financial framework will apply from 2021.