Post-2020: lots of needs, less money
EC tabled a reflection paper on the future of EU finances
Maria Koleva, Brussels
30 June, 2017
The College of Commissioners adopted on 28 June its reflection paper on the future of EU finances, which is the last of the five such documents following the White Paper on the Future of Europe, presented by EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in March.
As Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, responsible for the budget and human resources stressed, presenting the document to the EP Committee on Budgets, there are two, or three shortfalls that have to be plugged, which are crucial for the next decade. Irrespective of the transition period, is the fact Britain will no longer be a member of the EU and hence, no longer will be participating in the EU budget. The budget commissioner specified that the UK makes up 16% of the revenue in the EU budget, “despite their rebate, they are a still net payer so it will leave €10-11 billion gap every year.” The second shortfall are the ‘new’ challenges tackled at EU level as migration management, border monitoring and protection, fight against terrorism, external security, defence and internal security. There will be a high structural gap here to the tune of billions euro every year, he warned.
In terms of the inclusion of external funds into the budget, for example the European Development Aid Fund will also create a gap. Altogether that means a shortfall of €20bn or so a year, the commissioner said, adding that the European institutions and in particular the European Commission have to do thier homework.
Commissioner Oettinger underlined as well that “if Europe is to tackle new challenges, the money must come from somewhere, adding that “we can either spend less or find new revenues.” Whatever we do, each euro invested from the EU budget must add value and have a positive impact on people's daily lives, he asserted.
It is time we give the EU budget a makeover, let's make it simpler, more flexible and let's reflect, with ambition and imagination, on how we can make it a powerful tool that will help us grow faster, ever closer, and leave no one behind in this globalised economy, Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Cretu, also responsible for cohesion policy, said.
The current reflection paper sets out a series of options and scenarios regarding the future direction of the budget and how it could be used. It also outlines the post-2020 budget following the 5 scenarios for the EU27 depicted in the White Paper, namely
carrying on with the positive reform agenda, doing less together, some doing more, radical redesign or doing much more together.
There will be a plenary debate on the reflection paper on 4 July in Strasbourg.