In Wednesday’s plenary debate, MEPs welcomed the agreement reached on EU financing, as well as the deal linking EU funding to respect for the Rule of Law.
MEPs hailed the Parliament’s unity in the budget negotiations, which resulted in a deal reached on Tuesday that will bring additional funding for future jobs, competitiveness, and better climate protection – benefiting citizens, young people, researchers and health workers in times of crisis.
Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for budgetary affairs, commended legislators on reaching a “good deal”, showing that “Europe is up to the challenge”. He particularly welcomed the additional funds and ambition that MEPs insisted upon despite the initial cuts proposed by member states, as well as the introduction of the rule of law mechanism and a clear roadmap towards own resources.
Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL) hailed the budget agreement as a “win-win result” for all involved, and stressed that the negotiators had found a solution to reinforce policies without breaching the agreement that EU leaders sealed in July on the next MFF and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. He also described the recent budget negotiations as the most difficult to date, with so many new elements to take into account, such as preserving the EU’s ambitions while dealing with Brexit and a deteriorating situation in Europe due to the pandemic.
Iratxe García Pérez (S&D, ES) warned “no one would understand that we cannot agree to act as soon as possible” to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on European citizens. “We have to overcome divisions and blackmail and focus on people’s needs”, she added. García Pérez stressed that she was confident the Recovery Plan will be a success, “if we manage to swiftly implement the new long-term budget and the own resources decision”.
Dacian Cioloş (Renew, RO) highlighted the historic importance of the agreement, not only because of the additional funding, but also with regard to new Own Resources, with which polluters will be held accountable and digital companies will have to pay a fair share of taxes. Member states will also have to respect the EU’s founding values to access funds. “This constitutes a historic juncture for the EU”.
“Will relocations be encouraged?” asked Jean-Lin Lacapelle (ID, FR). Part of the recovery must be based on incentives that take into account the vulnerability of SMEs and “invest in localism”, he said. He also denounced the “European tax” by which “all citizens will be fiscal subjects to Euro-globalisation”.
Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE) expressed his “pride” in the Parliament “having the courage to assert its convictions” in the budget negotiations. “It is undeniable that the agreement reached yesterday is a substantial improvement on the one reached by the Council in July (…) this time the Council has respected us”, he said.
Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR, BE) welcomed that Parliament’s negotiators had been able to shift the “untouchable” position member states had taken on the long-term budget, thereby securing more funding for the EU’s innovation and flagship programmes.
Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL, EL) said that Parliament’s achievements are a positive step but more is needed to address citizen’s expectations, and expressed his hope “that the Council will obey this agreement and will have the necessary unanimity.”