Written by Matthew Parry and Magdalena Sapala,
On 2 May, the Commission is expected to publish proposals for a new multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the European Union for the years after 2020, as well as for a new system of own resources (OR) to provide the EU with the means to finance its annual budgets. The following day the proposals are to be presented to the Parliament’s Committee on Budgets (BUDG).The proposals are being published as a package, and will be followed by a series of further legislative proposals for individual spending programmes to appear later in May and in June.
The next MFF and OR system will set the EU’s priorities and determine much of its scope for action for a period of at least five years. The proposals are an opportunity for the Commission to respond to a set of longstanding issues concerning how the EU finances its priorities, and to new issues arising from a political landscape that has changed profoundly since 2013, when the EU last negotiated its multiannual budget plan. Chief among these are the twin pressures affecting both the revenue and spending sides of the budget: the loss of a major net contributor country in the departure from the EU of the United Kingdom; and growing pressure to respond to new challenges mainly linked to the refugee and migration crisis that erupted after the current MFF was put in place, as well as ongoing issues resulting from the financial and sovereign debt crises.
The Commission’s proposals for a new MFF and OR will also respond to the question of how big the EU budget should be. Currently subject to a political cap of 1 % of the EU’s GNI, the EU budget is modest in comparison with the government budgets of the EU’s Member States. Nevertheless, negotiations over whether to increase this cap will be politically fraught in a context where some Member States are under pressure to reduce national budget deficits.
Other issues at stake in the negotiations are the flexibility, conditionalities, structure and duration of the next MFF, and the sensitive question of whether to increase the EU’s financial autonomy by endowing it with new and significant own resources.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Post-2020 MFF and own resources: Ahead of the Commission’s proposal‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.