“The last weeks and the last days, we have worked very hard in order to try to reach an agreement regarding the next European budget” EU Council president Charles Michel said, concluding in Brussels two Multiannual Financial Framework or seven year budget of the European Union.
“Unfortunately, today we have observed that it was not possible to reach an agreement. We have observed that we need more time. We know that this European budget is a very difficult topic, it’s a very difficult negotiation, especially after Brexit and the gap between 60 and 75 billion euro.
“We have worked very hard to try to reconcile the different concerns, the different interests, the different opinions on the table. But we need more time. It means that we will see in the future how it is possible to work on this topic in order to succeed, in order to get an agreement in the Council, to have unanimity in the Council.”
“Je voudrais également remercier l’ensemble des délégations et les chefs d’État et de gouvernement qui ont été très mobilisés pour tenter de travailler techniquement, politiquement avec nous, remercier bien sûr la Commission, Ursula von der Leyen et l’ensemble de son équipe pour tout le support qui a été donné tout au long des dernières semaines et des derniers jours.
“Et nous restons évidemment très engagés, très déterminés. Nous savons que le projet européen est un projet qui nécessite des efforts et de la ténacité, de la constance et de la détermination. C’est cet esprit qui nous habite, qui nous anime. Nous sommes évidemment lucides sur la nature des contraintes et des enjeux auxquels nous sommes confrontés. Nous savons qu’il y a beaucoup de sujets sur la table des institutions européennes et cette réunion aujourd’hui, hier et cette nuit, c’est une réunion qui nous apprend aussi sur la manière dont on peut tenter à l’avenir de faire avancer ce projet européen.”
President David Sassoli reminded EU leaders Parliament approval is needed for the EU seven years budget (MFF) and said MEPs would not accept agreement irrelevant to the European ambitions.
Sassoli was speaking at the start of an EU Council (EUCO) aimed at finding an agreement between member states on the EU’s next long-term budget. The budget for 2021-2027 will be the first since the UK left the EU.
The speaker told the heads of state and government that Parliament was prepared to reject any agreement that did not give the EU the means to address the many challenges it faces.
“We must equip the Union with all the means necessary to address the challenges that we face together,” he said. “The first and most urgent is climate change. The Green Deal offers an ambitious plan for Europe to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. Achieving this will require a major financial effort.
“We need resources to boost growth and development, and to support countries, businesses, and people through this transition. We also need to invest in research to ensure Europe is at the forefront and does not need to rely on importing new technologies to whose development it has not contributed.”
He also said that “the artificial dichotomy between net contributors and beneficiaries” should be broken. “All member states, without exception, profit from the EU.”
Parliament agreed its position on the long-term budget in 2018. Any agreement can only come into effect if approved by the Parliament.
“I am grateful to the EU leaders for the hard work we’ve done together.
There are many legitimate concerns, but I am convinced that it is possible to make progress” the European Council president Charles Michel said ahead of the Council meeting on seven year budget of the block. (Image above: archive)
EU heads of state or government will discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 during a special meeting of the European Council on 20 February 2020. In his invitation letter, the President of the European Council said: “The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the multiannual financial framework.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that talks to set the European Union’s budget for the coming seven years will be “very difficult” at an extraordinary summit beginning February 20 in Brussels.
“We think our concerns are not sufficiently addressed on many points, and I therefore see very tough and difficult negotiations ahead,” Merkel told reporters at a Berlin press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured).
Germany and Finland belong to the circle of mainly northern European EU members that pay more into the EU budget than they get out, known as “net contributors“.
EU heads of state or government will discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 during a special meeting of the European Council on 20 February 2020.
In his invitation letter, the President of the European Council Charles Michel said: “The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the multiannual financial framework.”
*Following the meetings held at Sherpa level, I have decided to call a special meeting of the European Council that will begin on 20 February 2020″ reads letter of the EU president Charles Michel, inviting the EU leaders to the Council.
*The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the Multiannual Financial Framework.
*Any postponement would create serious practical and political problems and jeopardise the continuation of current programs and policies as well as the launch of new ones.
*I am fully aware that these negotiations are among the most difficult ones we have to face. But I am also convinced that with common sense and determination we can strike a deal that will benefit all Europeans.
*To achieve this, all sides will need to demonstrate a spirit of compromise. I count on your support in this respect.
*In the coming days I will consult with you before tabling an overall proposal in view of the February meeting, which will be prepared in the usual fashion.*
The European Union has too many problems to sanction Italy for its 2019 budget, Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said.
“I don’t think the EU is enjoying a state of health such as to allow it to question and sanction Europe’s second industrial power,” he said.
Salvini added he was confident that a budget deal would be found, “we are working with alacrity on it”.
Italy accused the EU of “economic terrorism,” as its row with economic leaders in the bloc deepened when the EU finance ministers warned Italy that it must abide by EU rules on public spending.
The war of words between Rome and Brussels is focused on Italy’s new budget proposal, which seeks to increase spending and cut taxes, but would raise Italy’s debt and breach EU budget rules.
“There are European institutions playing at bringing terrorism to the financial markets,” said Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio who heads the Five Star Movement (M5S).
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte replied to Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici‘s call for a “credible” budget deficit cut by saying “our actions are credible”.
“I am confident in a deal” with the EU Conte said “we are making steps forward in these hours”.
Conte added that the government’s aim is to pass reforms, and “numbers are the last thing“. Conte continued that a budget infringement procedure initiated Brussels was “not be wished for” since it would “create anxiety“. “An infringement procedure is not to be wished for, because it would place us in difficulty and can cause anxiety” on the markets, he explained.”We are working to redo the budget, but we believe we are in the right.
“I am absolutely confident in an accord. The atmosphere is fruitful, operative, constructive”, ANSA News Agency reports from Italy.