The presentation by the European Commission of their proposal for the post-2020 EU budget was the central point of May’s first plenary session, which also included a debate with Belgian PM Charles Michel on the Future of Europe.
The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) - the EU’s post-2020 7-year budget
With a less ambitious proposal than what the European Parliament called for, President Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner Günther Oettinger presented the European Commission's plan for the EU budget for the period post-2020. The proposal includes more funds for Erasmus+, research and for the fight against climate change, but also cuts in cohesion and agriculture policies. During the following weeks the Commission’s proposal will be further explained and complemented, and the European Parliament will again discuss it in the next plenary session, to be held in Strasbourg on the 28th of May.
The parliamentary co-chair of the Greens, Ska Keller, delivered the first Green reaction to the proposed budget. While a good start for discussions, the Greens in the European Parliament criticised the lack of sufficient growth in spending on climate change-related issues as well as on sustainable development, supporting an increase to 50% spending on climate change and a goal of 0.7% of GNI for sustainable development.
On the proposal of the Commission to take out investment from countries where rule of law is in danger, Ska Keller proposed instead that in those cases, the Commission manage investment directly in order not to take citizens hostage from their national government's actions.
On the same line, the co-chairs of the European Green Party, Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer, also reacted to the proposal.
Belgian PM Charles Michel lays out his Future of Europe
In this plenary session it was time for the Prime Minister of Belgium to share and debate his vision for the future of Europe, in one more edition of the series of debate that started in January with the Irish Taoiseach, followed by Croatian, Portuguese and French leaders.
Michel called for a "strong Europe" where all levels of government can complement each other. In a strong response, the parliamentary co-chair of the Greens, Philippe Lamberts, argued that Michel and his coalition government has failed to make Belgium an active part of the European construction.
The next Prime Minister to participate in the Future of Europe debate will be Xavier Bettel, the Luxembourguish leader, on May 30th.