Brussels (AP) - The European Parliament is today dealing with the decisions of the EU summit on the budget of the Union and the billion euro program against the consequences of the corona pandemic.
A controversial debate about the total package amounting to 1.8 trillion euros is expected because critics of partial resolutions can be found in practically all political groups. The financial package must be approved by Parliament.
At the start of the special session, the President of the Council Charles Michel and the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen will campaign for the approval of the parliamentarians. Parliament wants to improve the budget and economic stimulus package. Reductions in research, climate protection and migration policy should be corrected. There is also criticism of a clause that links EU money to compliance with the rule of law.
The leader of the large EPP group, Manfred Weber, called for renegotiations. "In its current form, the European Parliament cannot approve the Council's decisions," Weber told the "World". The CSU politician criticizes, among other things, that 90 percent of the aid package flows directly into state budgets and should not be tied to a project. He called for an EU agency to review the use of funds. "There must be no corruption, it must not go into the shadow economy and be used inefficiently."
Weber also called for reform requirements for the release of funds against the corona-related economic crisis. «For example, I am not prepared to send money (the Spanish prime minister) to Pedro Sánchez and his left, partly communist government in Spain if they do not do their homework themselves. That is not acceptable, »said Weber.
For Weber, the summit decisions leave it unclear whether the disbursement of EU funds is linked to the fulfillment of the rule of law. Vice-President of the European Parliament Katarina Barley (SPD) also called the decision on the rule of law "disappointingly vague". Barley told the editorial network Germany (RND): «Only in a functioning constitutional state can it be ensured that European taxpayer money does not disappear in dubious pockets. I will do everything to ensure that we MEPs can make improvements at this point (...). »
The Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer also urgently wants to improve the rule of law. With a view to budget cuts on future issues such as climate protection and research, he also told the RND: "Anyone who thinks that Parliament is just a machine of approval should put the ax on the core of European democracy."
The Bundestag also has to agree in the end. Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) told the “Bild” newspaper: “It will only be known afterwards whether it is a good deal in the end.” Although he gives the necessary impetus to deal with the crisis, "It depends on the correct use of the funds, it will be decided whether it will turn out well in the end."
Former CSU Vice-President Peter Gauweiler explained the Corona aid program as “Helicopter money for empty state coffers in countries whose country children generally have more wealth than the average German taxpayer family”. He also has legal concerns about the financial package, Gauweiler wrote in the "Bild". "For the decisions from Brussels that give the EU the right to go into debt, the Lisbon Treaty needs to be changed," he wrote in a guest post. The EU was “not empowered to raise funds under its own power” and, for example, to levy a plastic tax.
According to Christian Lindner, leader of the FDP, “concerns remain” with regard to the EU's financial programs. "New impulses for education, for research, for digital, for a common foreign and security policy or for the jointly responsible protection of the European external border are missing", Lindner wrote in a guest contribution for the "Handelsblatt".
The vote in the EU Parliament on the multiannual financial framework is expected to take place at the next regular plenary session in September. Parliament is interrupting the summer break for today's debate.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200723-99-891671 / 2