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EU budget for 2014-2020: MEPs go for growth and jobs

Budgets committee MEPs insisted on Thursday that the budget for research and competitiveness must be increased, as promised by EU leaders at the June summit, and warned member states not to cut it when they adopted their position for the final negotiations on the EU's next long-term budget plan. They believe that this is the only way to move Europe out of the current crisis.

Ivailo Kalfin (S&D, BG) and Reimer Böge (EPP, DE), the two MEPs leading Parliament's negotiations on the multiannual financial framework (MFF),or 2014-2020 budget, were pleased with the strong support in committee.

"The EU budget should be seen not as an extra fiscal burden for citizens but rather as part of the solution to the crisis since it is a pure investment tool. 94% is invested back in the member states or for their external priorities. Moreover, each EU euro that is spent attracts three more to Europe's regions", said Mr Kalfin.

"The level of the future EU budget has to be sufficient to accommodate the priorities and commitments of the Union. However, we must focus on the quality of spending. What we need is a structured, balanced approach with reforms improving the effectiveness of public spending in order to achieve cost savings at all levels." added Mr Böge.

More money for research and competitiveness to help EU out of the crisis

MEPs point out that the measures taken since 2008 have not yet brought about an end to the economic and financial crisis. They believe that a well-targeted, robust and sufficient EU budget is needed to help coordinate and enhance national efforts. They therefore call for "significant increases" in the budget for competitiveness, SMEs, entrepreneurship, sustainable infrastructure and research and innovation funding.

Given the "pressing need to secure public investment in growth and jobs" MEPs want the budget for cohesion policy to be maintained "at least at the level of the 2007-2013 period". Equally, the budget for the common agricultural policy (CAP), which contributes to job creation in rural areas, should be at least maintained, while being used more effectively and efficiently.

MEPs challenge the Council, if it proposes cuts, to identify clearly and publicly which of its political priorities or projects should be dropped altogether.

Fairer financing system needed

They call for a more transparent and fairer method of financing the budget, with no rebates or corrective mechanisms and a simpler VAT own-resource system. They also want a new financial transaction tax, which would be used to reduce the national contributions of the countries that introduce it.

Next steps

The full Parliament will vote on the resolution on 23 October. A special EU summit will be devoted to the next MFF on 22 and 23 November with the aim of adopting a political agreement that will form the basis for the subsequent negotiations between Council and Parliament.

Parliament has the power to veto the MFF regulation, which sets out the figures per heading and for each year of the MFF period. It decides jointly, and on equal terms, with the Council on the multiannual programmes during the budget period.

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