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Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena

EP: 2017 budget should allocate more money to jobs and youth

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe European Parliament has carried out a plenary vote to request more money to help young people find jobs, enhance economic growth and help third countries deal with the migration crisis. According to MEPs, the opinion of the EU Council in regards to budget cuts should be changed in the opposite direction.

MEPs hope to find finding for aforementioned goals by reviewing the EU long-run budget.

Members of the European Parliament want a part of the EU 2017 budget in commitments worth EUR 160.7 billion and in payments worth EUR 136.7 billion, as BNN was informed by EP’s Information Office in Latvia.

«The EU is facing an unprecedented number of different challenges. If we are serious about getting to grips with these, then we need a well-funded EU budget. When we first negotiated the MFF for 2014-2020 in 2013, there were far fewer refugees arriving in Europe each year. Now the number is well over a million. We have to recognise that circumstances have changed. We need a comprehensive revision of the MFF and a more ambitious EU budget. The current MFF is outdated», – said lead rapporteur Jens Geier from Germany.

«The Parliament has decided to hold 20% of the allowances of former Commissioners in reserve until the Commission enforces a stricter Code of conduct to prevent conflict of interests and the revolving doors. I am absolutely confident that putting this money to reserve encourages the Commission to act, in the light of recent revelations and in order to regain the confidence of Union citizens», – added rapporteur from Estonia Indrek Tarand.

The resolution about EP’s position on the 2017 budget was approved with 446 votes in favour, 184 votes against and 60 abstaining from the vote.

MEPs added EUR 1.5 billion in commitment appropriations for the Youth Employment Initiative, to help youngsters desperately seeking a job.

In addition, MEPs request an additional amount of EUR 1.24 billion to finance infrastructure projects and Horizon 2020.

In relation to the refugee crisis, MEPs believe money to finance the agreement with Turkey should not be taken from the current external relations wallet. They doubt there is sufficient money for projects in third countries, especially considering the refugee crisis. This is why politicians do not support EU Council’s proposal to cut this area.

The plenary vote will be followed up by three-week talks with the EU Council, which will last until 17 November. The goal is to reach an agreement in time for the approval of the 2017 budget. If this fails, the EC will have to come up with a new budget plan.

MEPs admit that the European Commission’s offer for the review the EU long-run budget complies with EP’s July request to ensure better flexibility and bigger EU crisis reserves. MEPs are, however, disappointed that there are no changes to the resource portion of the budget plan.

The parliament asks the EU long-run budget to be reviewed for a specific reason, not ‘just because’. «We are pleased to see that the Commission shares our assessment and sees the need to revise the MFF», said Jan Olbrycht, rapporteur from Poland.

«The proposed package includes financial top-ups in response to EU priorities, which are also partly reflected already in the 2017 budget, as well as changes to the provisions of the MFF regulation itself. Parliament is ready to enter into talks with the Council immediately, and is very eager to reach an agreement on a budget that works well for the remaining four years of this MFF», – he added.

The multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 does not suffice to enable the EU to deal with the many new crises and priorities that have emerged in recent years and to fulfil its long-term objectives and political commitments. The EU’s budget must be made more flexible to enable it to respond promptly to challenges such as the migration and refugee crisis, terrorism and internal security issues, the crisis in agriculture or persistently high unemployment, especially among young people, as stated in the resolution.

According to MEPs, it is important to use every cent in EU’s budget. Any surplus left over should be kept in the wallet to be alter allocated to resolve priority matters and making sure there are no outstanding debts accumulating.

In July, the EP requested a crisis reserve to be created in the EU budget. This request has been added to EC’s September proposal.

MEPs also welcomed EC’s intention to simplify the financial rules, but regret that it did not propose to increase the overall budget ceilings to permit a sustainable response to current needs. The MFF revision should also lead to commitments on post 2020 rules, said MEPs, such as the reform of own resources system or the phasing out all forms of rebate.

The resolution also stresses that changes agreed upon in the MFF mid-term revision should be integrated in the 2017 budget. MEPs urge EC to respond to Commission proposal and open negotiations with Parliament, so that an agreement on both the 2017 budget and the MFF revision can be reached before the end of 2016.


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