Talking about the budget means talking about the EU’s future, MEPs said in a key plenary debate with Nikolina Brnjac, Croatian State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs, representing the Council, and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The debate on Wednesday came ahead of a special EU summit starting on 20 February, where member states will try to agree on a common position on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF).
Most MEPs insisted that sufficient funding is key to achieve common ambitions such as fighting climate change, the digital and ecological transformation, dealing with the social consequences of the latter, and continuing to support regions and cities, farmers, young people, researchers or entrepreneurs. Implementing the Green Deal with a reduced budget, for example, would mean cutting successful EU programmes elsewhere, MEPs highlighted. Some said that certain EU policies need to be assessed more thoroughly, and that more spending discipline is needed.
In addition, introducing new sources of revenue (“Own Resources”) for the EU and linking the EU budget to the respect of rule of law are key for MEPs.