European Parliament reassures Committee of the Regions’ leaders that a possible veto on the MFF would not impede on programming of Structural Funds

At today’s joint meeting of the Presidents of political groups in the European Parliament and in the Committee of the Regions, the overwhelming majority of group leaders indicated that the European Parliament would stand firm against the current proposals on the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) which are on the table for next week’s European Council meeting. They underlined that the European Parliament has shown its commitment to fight deficits, notably by adopting the so-called “6-pack”. Group leaders from the whole political spectrum made it clear that an agreement on the financial framework post-2014 that would pave the way to a structural annual deficit of 8 billion € would be rejected. “The European Parliament stands for a Stability Union but not for a Debt Union!” said EP President Martin Schulz.
Asked whether a lack of agreement between the European Council and the European Parliament would cause delay in preparing the programming of Structural Funds, Martin Schulz answered: “Don’t let them fool you: the MFF only sets expenditure ceilings. Even If there is no agreement on the MFF, we can still adopt programmes for multiannual periods; so, as soon as the relevant proposals for the MFF-related programmes are agreed – for whatever period considered appropriate, programming could be started and the funds made available via the annual budgetary procedure”.

Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the PES-Group in the Committee of the Regions and Minister-President of the German Speaking Community of Belgium, encouraged the European Parliament to stay firm on the request for a reasonable and credible financial framework which would remain as close as possible to the original proposal of the European Commission. He said: “There is still time to agree on an agreement that would make clear that the European Union’s image and actions cannot be reduced to austerity measures and the European Union harbours ambitions for the future”.

Representing the S&D Group in the European Parliament, the Group’s vice-President Enrique Guerrero said: “The regions of Europe may have different budgetary interests. However, all regions have a general interest in relaunching growth in Europe with an EU budget targeting on innovation, an improved environment and fighting youth unemployment.”