EU member states to set future budget, and priorities, for European Union

27/07/2011 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

In April, Dóchas called on the European Union to take decisive action on the fight against poverty.

(see also our blog post from that time)

Since then, the European Commission launched its Communication on the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The Communication outlines the Commission’s proposal on the structure and priorities for the EU budget from 2014 to 2020 and proposes an increase in external spending from €56 billion to €70 billion.

European NGOs, united through the CONCORD network, have welcomed the proposal with its renewed commitment to the MDGs and its clear focus on poverty eradication based on democracy, human rights and equality.

Why is this important?

The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) constitutes a major overhaul of the EU budget. For each 7-year programming period, the MFF establishes the maximum amount – and the composition of – EU expenditure.

EU expenditure is currently defined under five headings:

  1. Sustainable Growth – this part of the budget is subdivided into (a) Competitiveness for Growth and Employment and (b) Cohesion for Growth and Employment
    – 44.4% of total expenditure
  2. Preservation and Management of Natural Resources (this includes the Common Agricultural Policy, Fisheries Policy and related areas)
    – 42.7%of total expenditure
  3. Citizenship, freedom, security and justice – 1.2% of total expenditure
  4. The EU as a global player – 5.7% of total expenditure
  5. Administration – 5.8% of total expenditure

Timeline and decision making process

Following the European Commission’s Communication on the MFF, the Council and the European Parliament will start discussing the proposal and negotiating an agreement. The process should draw to a close by the end of 2012 for the MFF to be implemented from 1 January 2014. The MFF will be adopted unanimously by the Council after receiving consent by the European Parliament, the Parliament’s decision will be taken by plenary vote.

The discussion on the next MFF will take place at three different levels:

  1. The first big question will be around the level of the member states’ contribution to the EU Budget.
  2. The second level of discussion will be around EU priorities and how to distribute resources among the different headings.
  3. The third level will be on the way the expenditure for external actions is managed and about the financial instruments that will be put in place.

For Development NGOs, the MFF negotiations are a crucial opportunity to influence the discussion around the amount of resources that will be available for development.

We would want to look at the percentage of the total budget allocated to Heading 4 (“The EU as a global player” – see p.36 of this document) and within that at the amount allocated to development, as well as quantity and quality of EC aid and the possibility of using freed up CAP funds for development.

In addition, NGOs want to ensure “policy coherence for Development” – that one category of EU spending (e.g. CAP or fisheries) does not undermine expenditure in development cooperation.

With thanks to our colleagues at BOND, for their assistance on this blog.

Entry filed under: EU. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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