- EU budget, Sassoli: unacceptable proposal
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ShareFebruary 21, 2020 After a suspended plenary and bilateral meetings that have gone on all night this morning, the leaders of the 27 countries will return to meet for a new plenary session of the extraordinary European Council. An agreement between the heads of state and government on the EU's multi-annual budget proposal for the 2021-27 seven-year period still seems far away, after a night of bilateral consultations conducted by Prime Minister Charles Michel with each of the leaders, according to the order of EU presidencies. For today's summit, Michel expects a new compromise proposal on which the leaders will have to comment.
The positions, based on what has been learned, are currently very far apart. The EU Commission has proposed 1.11% of the GNI, equal to 1,134 billion, the European Parliament would like 1.3% (1,324 billion), while the President of the European Council Charles Michel has put on the table a negotiating proposal from the 1.074% (1,094 billion). The so-called 'frugal countries', Austria, Denmark, Holland and Sweden, who would like a thrifty budget (1% of GDP) and discounts and ask to cut on Agriculture and Cohesion by increasing funding for Green Deal, took the field against the Michel proposal. Research and Defense. Italy, which has already defined the draft Michel as "unambitious", takes sides instead to preserve the current level of funds for Agriculture and Cohesion and opposes to preserve the "rebate" for the richer countries. According to Rome, more resources are needed to finance the new policies, from the green deal to the digital one, and Italy has asked for a wider budget not by increasing national contributions, but by opening the EU's own basket of resources that can finance European public goods.
Together with Italy also Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Estonia, Greece Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Malta, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Hungary insist on not cutting back on agriculture and cohesion funds.
The bilateral meeting with the Italian premier Giuseppe Conte ended late at night. Conte left the Council building without making statements. Yesterday the prime minister said that "Italy reaffirms its unwillingness to face a negotiation to the bottom, the European budget must provide the tools to achieve the objectives of the European strategic agenda", said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The Prime Minister, reports Palazzo Chigi, "has held a very clear and firm position on the common agricultural policy and on cohesion". Italy's position, expressed at the table of European leaders, will be reaffirmed during the bilateral meeting with Michel. The positions of the various Member States in this first round of consultations have been confirmed as distant and in any case still far from the agreement desired by Michel, confirms Palazzo Chigi.