Sunday

14th Apr 2024

Opinion

A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe

  • A Frontex mission in Greece. The EPP is prioritising security, immigration and asylum reform, and a well-funded Common Agriculture Policy for the next EU budget (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

How the European Union decides to spend its money in the coming years, will determine how prepared our continent will be to deal with future challenges.

Defining a budget means setting out priorities, this is what the EU's Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) is about. Faced with new realities, the European Union must adapt and so must its budget.

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As the leading force in the European institutions and a party of responsibility, the European People's Party (EPP) will fight to ensure that each euro spent must improve the life of the European citizens.

The MFF must reflect today's necessities and anticipate future challenges.

New priorities require new funding.

One of today's main concerns of Europeans is security. This means reinforcing our security and protecting our citizens from terrorist attacks.

Rapid implementation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) and a solid MFF allocation shall further improve EU's defence capabilities.

This goes hand in hand with the need to stabilise our immediate neighbourhood and invest in humanitarian aid and development policy, with a special focus on Africa.

Helping people in their countries of origin is one way to tackle migration. It implies protecting the EU's external borders and having the means to reform the Common European Asylum System.

We need to move from a crisis management mode to a permanent, future-proof European policy on asylum and migration. It cannot happen without an adequate level of funding and flexibility to be able to act swiftly.

A new focus does not mean abandoning successful EU policies which enhance our citizens' quality of life.

Cohesion policy is and should remain the main investment policy of the EU to reduce disparities between European regions, with special attention paid to smart specialisation, synergies and tackling low absorption rates.

Simultaneously, a well-funded Common Agricultural Policy will support European farmers facing the challenges of climate change, globalisation and food security.

Tomorrow's Europe is prepared today

There is no better investment than investing in our people and our knowledge. To make the EU a frontrunner in research and innovation, we need to keep boosting its funding, promoting Erasmus+, enhancing the EU's ageing infrastructure and advancing digitalisation via the Connecting Europe Facility.

With changing societies due to digitalisation and globalisation, it is our duty to make sure that the most vulnerable are protected and to offer equal opportunities to all Europeans.

We must implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, including specific measures for youth. We are also committed to the euro and support enhancing the instruments for stabilisation and structural reforms to protect the assets of the European citizens.

Besides the scope, we need to look at the shape of the MFF.

Brexit

The next EU budget will depend on the contributions of 27 member states due to the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU.

Brexit will impact the form of EU's budget, but it will neither change its course nor its priorities. This new format will require an increase in the EU budget's general ceiling as well as new sources for the EU's own resources.

To provide clarity and predictability to the European citizens and businesses, the next MFF must be adopted before the 2019 European elections. The EU budget cannot get caught in an election cycle. We also defend a seven-year time span to ensure continuity.

The European budget must address the concerns of Europeans while pursuing policies that have and will continue to bring benefits to the citizens.

To do more, we need more. Deciding on a budget means planning for the expected and preparing for the unexpected. No money can be lost and each euro must be spent for the better.

The EPP will make sure that the future EU budget works towards a prosperous and secure Europe.

Joseph Daul is president of the European People's Party

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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