It is time to give the EU budgetary autonomy

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Presenting today in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg his report on the EU’s own resources system, MEP Gérard Deprez, ALDE spokesperson on the Parliamentary Committee on Budgets, said: “It is time to put an end to the long drift in the financing of the EU budget. The Treaty is clear: in Article 311 it states: The budget is, without prejudice to other revenue, entirely financed by own resources. Fully!!you heard right. Fully !!” However, the traditional own resources of the EU today represent only 13% of budgetary revenue”.

“Over the years, the share of own resources has steadily increased in favor of contributions from national budgets, which now account for nearly 70% of the Union’s revenue,” says Deprez, “worse, since the ‘I want my money back’ of Margaret Thatcher, the drift of the system has generated a monster of opacity. The British rebate gave rise to discounts on the rebate, to which were added, over the years, multiple and disparate corrections “. For Gérard Deprez, the financing of the European budget as it exists today has caused a serious break between the Member States. Net contributors are reluctant to fund the fund that the net beneficiaries ask them to fill. The Union is no longer, on the budgetary level, a common project, it is a heavy fund to feed for some, interesting to empty for others. The right return has become the alpha and the omega of the European budget.

The European Parliament and the Commission have been concerned about this development for several years. An interinstitutional report was even drafted in 2016 under the aegis of former Commissioner Mario Monti. “Our report is consistent with the conclusions of this group approved by the representatives appointed by the three institutions,” says Deprez. “In doing so, we pursue a triple objective: it is to respect Article 311 of the Treaty and to break the logic of the right return, it is a question of cyclically to attenuate (even to compensate) the negative effect of Brexit on the budget is structurally to give the Union the means to face the great and new challenges before us”.

The report, which should be adopted tomorrow by the plenary session, calls for the gradual introduction of a package of new own resources in order to protect the budget from the vagaries and fluctuations of a single resource. The selection of new resources in this package will have to aim to improve the functioning of the single market, to stop financial speculation and tax optimization techniques and to fight against global warming and support for the protection of the environment. The rapporteur insists that this reform should lead to the abolition of all rebates and reduce the Member States’ budgetary contributions, which will become residual and decrease by 40% under the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

By voting for these reports and the amendments I am proposing,” concluded Gérard Deprez, “you affirm the determination of our Parliament to match the future multiannual financial framework with the implementation of new own resources to guarantee its financing. You are calling for the amendment of Article 311 of the Treaty so that the European Parliament, as the budgetary authority, goes beyond its present advisory role for the introduction of own resources. You are taking a date so that the next legislature, elected after the 2019 elections, has a say on the financial framework, which will set the parameters of the budget for the next 7 years.”

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