The European Parliament wants to stop the European budget package agreed at the EU summit - with the aim of getting more money for climate protection, research, health and students. "We are currently not ready to swallow this bitter pill," said Manfred Weber, the chairman of the largest parliamentary group in the European Parliament, the European People's Party. The other large factions see the same thing. They also call for clear rules that EU money can be cut in the future if the rule of law is violated. The decision in parliament will probably be made in September.
At their summit this week, the heads of state and government of the European Union agreed on a Corona crisis program worth 750 billion euros and a seven-year EU budget of 1,074 billion euros. The budget needs the approval of the EU Parliament, which now wants to implement changes through a conciliation procedure. Parliaments in all 27 EU countries would also have to agree.
The budgetary framework is due to enter into force on January 1st and will apply until the end of 2027. The first money from the 750 billion package is also expected to flow in 2021.
EU Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen defended the results. "We delivered - maybe beyond what was conceivable just a few weeks ago." Michel once again referred to the historical dimension of the package totaling EUR 1.8 trillion and the innovation that the EU is jointly raising debts for the Corona crisis program.
Von der Leyen said that billions would flow into the modernization of the economy and thus, for example, into the expansion of the 5G mobile network or into better insulated houses. However, the Commission President acknowledged that there were painful cuts compared to her original draft, particularly with regard to the Horizon research program, health, the InvestEU investment plan and money for international cooperation. "This narrow multiannual financial framework is a bitter pill."
The language picture then picked up not only Weber, but a number of other speakers in the debate. "We will not swallow this bitter pill that you mentioned today, which was served to us," said SPD MP Tiemo Wölken.
The demands were formulated in a resolution negotiated by all the major groups: more expenditure on research, health, the Erasmus student program and the "Fund for a Just Change" towards a climate-friendly economy; in addition, a stronger rule of law mechanism with which states like Hungary or Poland could cut subsidies from Brussels if the judiciary, media or democracy were restricted.
Liberals: Rule of law clause too vague
A solid guarantee that EU funds will be tied to the rule of law is a prerequisite for approval of the budget, said liberal faction leader Dacian Ciolos. The clause formulated by the summit was criticized as too vague.
The speakers from the major political groups praised the fact that the 27 EU countries were able to find an agreement despite the long disputes. They also praised the Corona stimulus package and joint debt financing.
Left-wing parliamentary group leader Martin Schirdewan criticizes, however, that the corona package is too small and the counter-financing of the debt is too weak. So far, the only new European income that can be foreseen is the levy on plastic waste, which will only bring in three billion euros a year. This would take 130 years to repay the debt.
MEPs called for a clear timetable for the introduction of new sources of finance. A digital tax, an expansion of emissions trading and climate tariffs on imported goods that were not produced in an environmentally friendly way abroad are under discussion.