For a responsible Recovery Plan for Europe!
I stand behind the principle on which the European Recovery Instrument/Next Generation EU is built. Also, I support the Commission’s proposals in full recognition of the responsibility we all have and with the aim to find as quickly as possible a comprehensive solution for the package as a whole, including on the volume and the balance between loans and grants.
Next Generation EU, together with all other measures adopted so far, shows that solidarity sits at the core of the European Union. “Next Generation EU”, through its magnitude and its architecture, is an unprecedented response from the EU in light of the current pandemic.
Solidarity and responsibility go hand in hand. Therefore, a credible repayment plan, which would need to start before the end of the 2021-2027 period makes sense. The Instrument, presented as such, lacks a credible repayment plan. We should not create an instrument to the detriment of future MFFs and future generations.
The solution to a credible repayment plan that does not negatively impact on the next MFFs is the establishment of genuine, new EU own resources. The financing costs of the Next Generation EU Instrument are linked to the EU system of own resources.
Let us ensure that money is spent in the best way possible. In that regard, I welcome the Commission’s milestone approach as well as the fact that the proposal for the new recovery and resilience facility is to be entirely embedded in the European Semester, in order to make sure funds are spent effectively and responsibly. All the projects that will be funded need to follow a clear logic: they must be linked to EU wide objectives and not to suit national political interests. They must bring an EU wide added value and respond to ambitions for the future and not to promises of the past.
We need to establish a framework allowing for the necessary democratic oversight through the adequate involvement of the European Parliament, as well as stricter control of the use of EU money through a direct linkage with the rule of law requirements.
The EU’s financial support via the MFF and the Recovery Instrument, and including through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, should be made visible to citizens via the obligatory use of the EU flag and explanatory symbols or text.
We should use all tools at our disposal (consent to the MFF, co-decision on sectoral files, demand for the creation of own resources) to have an influence upon the Next Generation EU as a whole, including the parts on which the European Commission has not given the Parliament legislative rights (general architecture, volume and repayment plan).
The Next Generation EU Instrument should not lead to a reduced MFF. This is a crisis instrument, while the MFF finances our longer-term objectives. The long-term budget of the EU is the driver for the implementation of EU policies. While the current pandemic has severely affected our economies, our response cannot take place at the expense of other policies. In this regard, the financing costs of Next Generation EU, namely the payment of interests and amortisations, shall be placed over and above the ceilings of the MFF.
We need to further reinforce Horizon Europe. I believe that the financing of Horizon Europe, as proposed in the revised MFF proposal and the Next Generation Instrument, will not be enough to achieve the priorities of the programme. I remain strongly committed to increasing the budget of Erasmus+ and regret that the Commission proposed a lower budget for this programme compared to the proposal of May 2018. We need to show the young generation that our response to this crisis is not carried out at the expense of their future.
Let us support an increase of the appropriations for the Connecting Europe Facility. I regret that the new proposal drastically reduces the commitments for the energy pillar and for the digital pillar, as this would be detrimental to the objectives of this programme and seriously undermine the implementation of the political priorities set by the new Commission.
I am very committed to adequately financing investments in our security and defence. This is why I will continue to call for an increase in appropriations for the European Defence Fund, military mobility as well as the relevant European agencies in the field of security. Security and defence have become core issues for our citizens and we must ensure that we deliver on their expectations. I also call for an increase in the appropriations for the European Border and Coast Guard in order to enable this agency to fulfil its reinforced mandate.
While the Commission proposes to top up agriculture and cohesion through the Next Generation Instrument, I stand ready to defend adequate allocations in the next MFF for these policies. I believe that in order to ensure predictability for our regions and farmers, as well as to our fishermen, we must ensure sufficient funding throughout the next MFF.
On all other programmes, be it the ones which contribute to the strengthening of our Single Market, the enhanced competitiveness of our economies, the protection of our values or the promotion of our cultural heritage, I will continue to defend Parliament’s position.
It is time for the launch immediate launch of negotiations with the Council in view of an agreement for a strong EU Budget that addresses both economic recovery and invests in a stronger EU in the future.