21 July 2020
On Tuesday July 21st, after 5 days of negotiations, the European Council, which brought together the heads of states of the 27 EU member states, reached an agreement on the next long-term EU budget (MFF) and on the recovery fund (Next Generation EU). The 1.82 trillion euro deal (MFF: 1.074 trillion; Next Generation EU: 750 billions) should be hailed as a historic moment. The EU has demonstrated its capacity to step up in the face of an equally historic crisis.
Mutualised debt and new own resources, including a plastic tax and a digital tax, have been long fought for by the Greens. They are a welcome and huge step forward for EU integration. These new instruments will in particular allow for the 390 billion euros to be disbursed as grants in order to facilitate the post-coronavirus recovery.
However, the so-called Frugal countries have imposed significant cuts to the budget and have thus prevented the full expression of European solidarity, which the majority of countries were expecting in order to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Evelyne Huytebroeck and Thomas Waitz, co-chairs of the European Green Party comment:
“The proposal to create a mutualised debt instrument has been a demand from the Greens since the beginning of the crisis and we welcome it warmly. In addition, while there are still many details to be clarified, we are pleased to witness a leap forward regarding the EU own resources, another long standing Green demand.
However, the deal came at the price of compromises antagonising important positions of the European Parliament, which we also support. The agreed proposal watered down the idea that the EU budget should be linked to high rule of law standards. While the proposal represents an improvement, it remains unclear how the rule of law conditionality principle can be effectively implemented.
There are reasons to rejoice but we should not lose sight of the fact that such a deal proved once again that an intergovernmental Europe led by the decisions of the Council, cannot lead to the level of solidarity we need in these unique times. Frugal countrieshave engaged in a dangerous and selfish game and imposed their will against the majority of EU countries. The rebates granted to these countries led to cuts in important programmes, especially climate action-related programmes.
The drastic cuts in the Just Transition Fund, and the rather low commitment to spend only 30% of the EU budget on climate-related issues are also insufficient. The 2050 climate neutrality target will require much stronger commitments.
Greens at all levels will continue fighting for more European solidarity, more European integration and a green Europe through the next MFF and Next Generation Europe."
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European Green Party
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