Members of the European Parliament are set to vote on the Multiannual Financial Framework this week that sets the financial agenda for the post-2020 period. It will be an opportunity for the European Union to map out its future by underlining priority spending areas.
Commenting ahead of the vote, the co-chairs of the European Green Party Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer said:
“Europe must be bold and ambitious as it hammers out its budget priorities for the post-2020 period. We need a plan with embedded flexibility that is both robust and future-proof.
Brexit is expected to burn a 13-billion-euro hole per year in the EU’s budget so we must be both strategic and creative if we are to emerge future-oriented. Rather than letting Brexit dampen our resolve, we must instead forge ahead with new ideas, without being held back by complicated and time-consuming opt-out clauses that were afforded to the UK.
Our view is that the EU must focus on the quality of our spending in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. However, we believe the budget must at least remain the same - or even be enhanced - if we are to fulfill our potential. Diverging priority areas are inevitable across Europe but we must focus on long-term objectives that benefit all Europeans. We must first invest in infrastructure projects to increase efficiency across Europe, which will in the long term contribute to Europe’s overall sustainability. Secondly, we must invest in Europe’s digital infrastructure to provide opportunities for startups and SMEs to harness new technologies whilst respecting competition and privacy red lines. Finally, we must guarantee that adequate resources are set aside to invest in our future through innovative research projects.
Providing the right circumstances for our young people must underpin all of our priorities. Employers must be incentivised to provide gainful employment to students entering the job market. Too often, young people are locked out of paid employment and are instead offered an unending series of unpaid internships. We need to invest in the Youth Employment Initiative and provide Europe-wide opportunities through the Erasmus+ scheme and the European Volunteering Service to make sure young people are adequately supported.
Let’s not shy away from our objectives towards building an EU that is more representative and responsive to the needs of its citizens."