I’m pleased that we reached a swift agreement in the interest of European citizens in these challenging times. With the top-ups for some of the future-looking programmes agreed in the multi-annual framework just weeks ago, we obtained budget increases for other programmes with proven European added value. These extra investments in, for example, the trans-European transport networks and digital Europe, all respond to real needs and are in line with the expectations of EU citizens, said the Chair of the Budgets committee Johan van Overtveldt (ECR, BE).
In all conscience, we know that this budget is not up to the challenge. It was the most that could be obtained given the restrictions of negotiating the MFF with heads of state in unanimity. The good news is that there is a solution that can mobilise 50 billion EUR per year for health, climate and jobs, and that cannot be blocked by the unanimity rule: taxing speculation in enhanced cooperation. The Commission says it can be adopted by the end of 2022. Let’s get to work without delay, said the lead rapporteur (Commission section) Pierre Larrouturou (S&D, FR).
We cannot build promising policies for the future without operational, efficient, modern, environmentally friendly and interactive institutions that are capable of functioning even in the event of force majeure. By voting in favour of the 2021 budget, we are giving the institutions of the European Union sufficient resources and staff so that they can best fulfil their missions and meet citizens’ expectations in times of crisis. This new agreement finds the balance between making savings in a time of crisis and not impeding the EU institutions from functioning properly said the rapporteur for the other sections, Oliver Chastel (RENEW, BE).
Commitment appropriations for 2021 total €164.3 billion; payment appropriations total €166.1 billion. After Council formally approved the agreement with Parliament on Monday, Parliament approved the budget on Friday by 540 votes to 77, with 70 abstentions. It was then signed into law by President David Sassoli.
For a more competitive Europe, creating jobs and investing in the EU’s future
MEPs succeeded in bolstering, on top of the Commission’s budget proposal, programmes they considered key to boosting growth and jobs, reflecting widely agreed European Union priorities, namely Digital Europe (+25.7 million) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for transport infrastructure (+€60.3 million).
Strengthen respect for Europe’s values and boosting climate action
As a supplementary effort to fight climate change, the additions obtained by the EP for the LIFE programme (+€42 million) aim, from the outset, at contributing to reaching the target of 30% of climate-relevant spending in the EU budget for the 2021-2027 period.
The Rights and Values programme will receive an additional €6.6 million, and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), an independent EU body that fights crimes against the Union budget will benefit from an extra €7.3 million.
MFF top-ups: supporting the young, EU research and healthcare
Other reinforcements for 2021 reflect the top-ups to selected key EU programmes that Parliament obtained in the deal with Council on the next long-term EU budget (MFF) 2021-2027, approved on 16 December.
This is the case for Erasmus+ (+€175.1 million), Horizon Europe (research programme, +€20 million) and the EU4Health programme, the EU’s response to COVID-19, by a further €74.3 million. EU4Health will support medical and healthcare staff, patients and health systems. Similarly, the commitment appropriations for humanitarian aid have been increased by €25 million and for supporting the EU’s southern neighborhood by €10.2 million.