European Parliament resolution on post-pandemic economic recovery: European Council’s agreement is unacceptable as it stands
Yesterday, the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) held an extraordinary session to discuss the agreement resulting from the extraordinary European Council meeting of 17-21 July 2020 concerning the EU’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan.
In a resolution adopted by 465 votes against 150, with 67 abstentions, the EP stated that it ‘does not accept the European Council’s political agreement on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) as it stands’ and that it ‘is ready to engage immediately in constructive negotiations with the Council to improve the proposal’.
The resolution adopted by the EP, which serves as a mandate for the upcoming negotiations on the recovery plan, welcome the European Council’s acceptance of the Recovery Fund ‘Next Generation EU’, describing it as a ‘historic move for the EU’. However, MEPs deplored the ‘massive cuts to the grant components’ and called for full democratic involvement of Parliament in the Recovery Fund, stressing that it does not give a formal role to the EP.
Concerning the MFF or long-term EU budget, MEPs disapproved of the cuts made to future-oriented programmes, noting that they will ‘undermine the foundations of a sustainable and resilient recovery’. They also strongly rejected the European Council’s weakening of the proposal as regards efforts to uphold the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy in the framework of the MFF and the recovery plan, recalling that the Rule of Law Regulation will be co-decided by Parliament. MEPs further demanded an agreement on the reform of the EU’s own resources system, stressing that new own resources is the only acceptable option to cover the costs of the recovery plan. Lastly, the EP called for a legally binding MFF mid-term revision to enter into force by the end of 2024 at the latest, which should include additional own resources and funds for the implementation of the climate and biodiversity targets.
In its resolution yesterday, the EP plenary recalled that the European Council’s conclusions on the MFF ‘represent no more than a political agreement between the Heads of State and Government’, stressed that the EP ‘will not rubber-stamp a fait accompli and is prepared to withhold its consent for the MFF until a satisfactory agreement is reached in the upcoming negotiations between Parliament and the Council’, and recalled that ‘all 40 EU programmes financed under the MFF will have to be agreed by Parliament as co-legislator’.
In the case that a new MFF would not be adopted on time, MEPs noted that Article 312(4) of the TFEU provides for the temporary extension of the ceiling of the last year of the present MFF (2020), and that this would be fully compatible with the recovery plan and the adoption of the new MFF programmes.
The EP Resolution is available here.