No surprise with the EU Budget on defence and security

The Commission proposed this week its budget for the 2021-2027 period, which is supposed to align the EU budget to the political priorities. The Commission proposes a long-term budget of €1.135 billion in commitments over the period from 2021 to 2027, equivalent to 1.11% of the EU27’s gross national income.

Giving credit where credit is due, Politico has made a good summarize of the EU budget’s priorities:

Source: Politico, Datapoint

The proposal also foresees an increase of investment in external actions up to 26% to reach €123 billion in the future long-term EU budget, along with a major restructuring of the EU’s external action instruments to provide better coherence, build on cooperation effectiveness, simplify processes and use economies of scale.

Focusing on security and defence, the proposed budget is not a surprise and is relevant considering the last developments. 

 

 

Without forgetting the European Peace Facility,an off-budget instrument proposed outside the Multiannual Financial Framework. The facility will aim to:

  • Increase the EU’s support to peace operations by third parties worldwide;
  • Cover joint costs of Common Security and Defence Policy military missions (now covered under the Athena mechanism);
  • Enable the EU to engage in broader actions aimed at supporting non-EU countries’ armed forces with infrastructure, equipment and supplies or military technical assistance.

Next steps

The MFF Regulation must be agreed before the sector-specific legislation. The Council will adopt the MFF Regulation by unanimity, after receiving the consent of the European Parliament. Under this consent procedure, the Parliament, voting with absolute majority, can approve or reject the Council’s position, but cannot amend it.

Legislative sectoral proposals are expected for 13th June 2018.

Negotiations will be long and difficult

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said in a press release « The EU budget, to which taxpayers of all Member States contribute, is meant to boost development and new initiatives. The most important thing is what we spend on, how investments affect the economy, if they will stimulate growth in the future, and if the well-being of people and the security of the countries will increase« .

Manfred Weber, EPP’s leader, described the Commission’s proposal as a “measured but ambitious budget” – “The EU makes a difference in so many aspects of peoples’ lives. We have more and more tasks ahead of us, for example on defence, strengthening Frontex, and building a brighter future for young Europeans. The fact that the European Commission has integrated our proposal of free Interrail tickets for 18 year-olds in its budget planning is a sign that it is taking young people seriously.”

However, Member States and MEPs do not really agree with the proposal, criticizing the cuts in the CAP or the rise of budget.

According to S&D Group vice-president, Isabelle Thomas, the proposal is not serious because the amounts proposed would lead to unprecedented budget cuts. “With 1.11% of the EU27’s gross national income (GNI), this proposal is an outrageous €219bn less than what the EP demanded. Such a proposal would be unable to live up to our citizens’ expectations or deliver significant actions on youth unemployment, sustainable development, climate change, the social pillar, agriculture, cohesion and international and humanitarian aids.

Dutch Foreign Minister, Stef Blok, said « The current proposal is unacceptable for the Dutch government. The EU income is declining due to departure of the United Kingdom. If income falls, we will need to spend less, »

France like most other agricultural countries (Ireland, Poland, Italy) oppose any further cutbacks in direct support to farmers.The French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Travert, called the budget proposal “unacceptable”.

© European Union, 2018

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