Monday

25th Jan 2021

Liberals suggest scrapping some EU institutions

The European Parliament's Liberal group has called for targeted spending cuts to the EU's common agricultural policy, together with the potential scrapping of several EU institutions.

The measures are contained in a list of revenue-saving measures outlined in a Liberal position paper published on Tuesday (11 January), relating to the EU's future multi-annual financial framework (MFF), post 2013.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The EU's Committee of Regions and European Economic and Social Committee (Photo: Alex Jilitsky)

Possible savings can be made by "fundamentally restructuring certain parts of the EU administration, such as the Committee of Regions ... [and] abolishing the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and others," says the document.

The group also calls for the European Parliament's shuttling between Brussels and Strasbourg to come to an end through the creation of just one fixed seat, together with spending cuts for EU programmes whose aims have already been achieved or whose goals are "dubious", such as support for tobacco production.

In response, EESC officials stressed that their institution's budget is "tiny", representing just 2.56 percent of the EU's overall administrative budget, and brings important added-value to the union's work.

Europe's post-2013 financial framework has already proved contentious, with the battle set to increase this year.

Leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands sent an open letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso last December, calling for any rise in the size of the post-2013 multi-annual framework to remain below inflation.

Parliament's Liberals on the other hand want a redirecting of current funding, away from areas such as agriculture and towards the EU's 2020 strategy for growth and jobs.

At the same time, more recently joined EU member states are calling for their EU farm payments to be brought into line with older members. Latvian farmers currently receive €98 per hectare in direct payments, while Greek farmers receive €580.

An unofficial Latvian position paper on CAP reform, seen by EUobserver, calls for the creation of new upper and lower limits, under which per hectare payments would vary between €200 and €300, depending on farming costs and per capita GDP in a specific country.

Latvian centre-right MP Imants Liegis, in Brussels on Tuesday to speak to EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos, said Europe's poorest regions must be protected.

"Even if the CAP budget were decreased, we would hope that Latvian farmers would still receive increased payments," he said. "Solidarity should also prevail in Europe's cohesion policy payments."

The European Commission is due to come forward with formal proposals on the EU's next long-term budget and farm policy before the summer.

Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks

Street violence in Russia redoubled calls for new sanctions when foreign ministers meet on Monday, after eight EU states earlier proposed asset-freezes and visa-bans.

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'

MEPs called for a new law guaranteeing workers can 'disconnect' outside work hours, without repercussion. But they also passed a last-minute amendment, calling on the commission to delay any legislation for three years.

Reality bites EU's 'No More Morias' pledge

The EU's hotspot of Moria, a sprawling ghetto-like camp for migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, burned down last September. EU leaders declared such scenes would never be replicated. But its replacement faces similar problems.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Agenda

Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK

The director of the European Medicine Agency, Emer Cooke will be quizzed by MEPs in the parliament on vaccine authorisation on Tuesday. EMA is expected to give the green light to the third vaccine at the end of the week.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia to get first woman prime minister
  2. Turkey and Greece to hold Mediterranean security talks
  3. Dutch police detain 240 in anti-lockdown protests
  4. Renewables overtake fossil fuels in EU electricity mix
  5. France's top scientist warns of corona 'emergency'
  6. Growing appetite for Northern Ireland independence
  7. Surge in support for Portuguese far-right party
  8. German far-right party sues to avoid stigma

Reality bites EU's 'No More Morias' pledge

The EU's hotspot of Moria, a sprawling ghetto-like camp for migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, burned down last September. EU leaders declared such scenes would never be replicated. But its replacement faces similar problems.

Agenda

Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK

The director of the European Medicine Agency, Emer Cooke will be quizzed by MEPs in the parliament on vaccine authorisation on Tuesday. EMA is expected to give the green light to the third vaccine at the end of the week.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  2. Why Russia politics threaten European security
  3. MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'
  4. Reality bites EU's 'No More Morias' pledge
  5. Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity
  6. Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK
  7. Will EU ever take action to stop Israeli settlements?
  8. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us