On the evening of Wednesday 29 June 2011, the European Commission presented its proposal for the next Multi-Financial Framework (2014 – 2015). This proposal will serve as a basis for the negotiations that are going to take place in the months to come in view of the adoption of the final Multi-Financial Framework.
Within this document, the GMES programme is dealt with in section 5.8.2 “Large scale projects”. In this section, the Commission proposes to foresee the funding of the GMES programme outside the multiannual financial framework after 2014.
This is also reflected in the summary table provided on page 6 of the Commission’s proposal, where GMES appears outside the multiannual financial framework, with a total budget of 5841 Million Euros over the entire period (which represents 834 Million Euros per year).
The entire proposal can be downloaded from the Europa website at the following address EC-EUROPA
The European Commission on June 29 fired the opening shots in what will be a protracted battle over the European Union’s budget for 2014-20, proposing an increase of 5.04% compared to 2007-13.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso presented the proposal for the Multiannual Financing Framework (MFF) to the European Parliament’s political leadership last night, after securing agreement among the European commissioners in the afternoon.
The proposal appears to cut the size of the budget, measured as a proportion of the EU’s wealth, reducing it from 1.11% of gross national income (GNI) in 2007-13 to 1.05% in 2014-20.
But the Commission is also proposing to move some big-ticket spending items outside the MFF, to be funded separately. If those items were included in the count, it would constitute an increase of 11% on the 2007-13 spending, and the budget as a proportion of GNI would remain at 1.11%.
Barroso said: “We are proposing an ambitious and at the same time responsible budget.” He said it was both realistic and innovative. People should “look beyond the headline figures to see how we will deliver growth and jobs”, he said.
The headline figures are that appropriations for commitments would increase to €1,025 billion from €975.77bn in 2007-13 (up 5.04%), and appropriations for payments would increase to €971.5bn from €925bn in 2007-13.
The proposal does not meet demands made by France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the UK in December that any increase in spending should be limited to the rate of inflation. Hungary and Poland have been prominent among the central European states demanding a more generous EU budget.
The European Parliament, whose consent is needed for any budget settlement, had called for a 5% increase from the current funding period.
The Commission is proposing shifts in spending between some policy areas, with €50bn devoted to energy, transport and information-technology infrastructure.
The proportion of the budget devoted to the Common Agricultural Policy and fisheries support would be reduced from 41% to 37%, while that for cohesion policy – regional aid and other structural funds – would increase slightly, from 36% to 37%. The budget for external policies will be increased from €56bn to €70bn.
The Commission is proposing to move outside the EU budget €2.7bn of funding for ITER, a nuclear fusion reactor project, and €5.8bn for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), an EU-European Space Agency project to use satellites to gather scientific data about the earth. The emergency aid reserve, (€2.45bn), the European globalisation fund (€3bn), the solidarity fund (€7bn), a flexibility instrument of €3.5bn and a €3.5bn reserve for crises in the agricultural sector are also placed outside the MFF.
The proposal on the MFF was accompanied by a proposal on reforms to EU staff pay, pensions and benefits. The Commission is proposing to cut the number of staff working in all EU institutions by 5% by 2018.
Pierre-Philippe Bacri, president of the federation of European civil servants (FFPE), a staff union, said: “It’s completely the wrong response.”
Klaus-Heiner Lehne, a German centre-right MEP who chairs the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee, welcomed the proposed cutbacks. “The EU requests more efficiency and savings from member states and hereby gives a good example itself,” he said.
The Commission has retreated slightly from its widely trailed support for funding part of the EU budget with an EU-wide tax on financial transactions. The proposal now talks of a “financial sector tax”.
The Commission proposes a simplification of the rebates given to some member states on the contributions that they make to the EU budget. The most contentious rebate is the UK’s, while Germany, Austria, Sweden and the Netherland are given a rebate on their contribution to the British rebate.
A spokesman for David Cameron, the UK’s prime minister, said: “The EU budget increase that the Commission has proposed today is unrealistic. Britain and the EU’s other largest payers made it clear in December that the EU budget should be frozen, and we will stick to that. The EU has to take the same tough measures as national governments are taking across Europe to tackle public deficits. That means a restrained EU budget focused on the things that will get our economy growing.”
“Britain will also oppose new EU taxes which will introduce additional burdens for business and damage EU competitiveness. And we will continue to protect the rebate – without it, the UK’s net contribution as a percentage of national income would be the largest across the EU, twice as large as France’s and Italy’s, and almost one-and-a-half times bigger than Germany’s.”
Jerzy Buzek, the European Parliament president, said: “The Commission’s proposal on the long-term budget for the EU is an intelligent starting point for negotiations. The next MFF will be one of the most important in the EU’s history. It will set the direction for the Union at an exceptional time when the European project is under pressure from the sovereign-debt crisis and from external instability.
“A system of real own resources would be fairer, more transparent, simpler and equitable. We should also see an end to rebates, exceptions and correction mechanisms that have accumulated within the current system.”
Alain Lamassoure, chairman of the European Parliament’s budgets committee, said: “I am glad to see that the Commission’s proposals reflect the main priorities of the European Parliament: spend better where Europe is necessary to save money elsewhere. And, above all, finding new, modern and European sources of income so that the national contributions can be lowered.”
Lamassoure added that “a debate of such importance should not be held in the secrecy of ministerial meetings behind closed doors. This should become the subject of as wide a public debate as possible, including a conference with full involvement of national parliaments. In the coming days we will make an effort toward realising this.”
© 2011 European Voice