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19 February 2020

EurActiv: Pressure mounts on EU leaders to reach MFF deal within days

The tight calendar, the urgent priorities awaiting the EU and the risk of post-Brexit talks affecting the negotiations are adding pressure on EU leaders to reach an agreement within days on the bloc’s long-term budget. Otherwise Europe risks facing a “horror scenario” in January next year.

The 27 EU leaders will arrive on Thursday (20 February) to Brussels to try to seal a deal on the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.

But no one knows exactly whether that will be possible, or at what moment European Council President, Charles Michel would decide to call it a day and send the leaders back to their capitals.

The priority, however, is clear. The MFF has to be wrapped up by the end of the year or the bloc will face a “horror scenario”, as a senior EU official described it. Member states would stop receiving funds as the new framework programmes for farmers or cohesion would not be concluded. And even net contributors would not get their rebates.

In order to balance the Brexit hole in the EU coffers (between €10 and €12 billion per year) with the new priorities, Michel proposed an MFF worth €1,094 billion (1.074% of EU GDP) for the seven-year period.

In addition, Michel’s negotiating box reflects the priorities of the European Green Deal, by adding €7.5 billion of fresh money for the Just Transition Fund, and by giving the EIB a greater role by enhancing its lending capacity to mobilize up to €500 billion in additional investment.

Even more, it guarantees that at least 25% of the MFF will be dedicated to fighting global warming, compared with less than 20% under the current budget.

Full article on EurActiv


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