EU Budget 2016: Parliament backs extra €800 million to tackle refugee crisis
The European Parliament today voted in favour of making an extra €800 million available in the 2016 EU budget to support the relocation of refugees across the EU. The amendment, put forward by the S&D Group, was part of the draft budget approved by a wide majority in the European Parliament today in Strasbourg. A three week negotiation period will now begin with the European Council to finalise the budget by mid-November.
Eider Gardiazabal MEP, S&D spokesperson for the budget committee, said:
"Ensuring that we have the resources necessary to deal with the ongoing refugee crisis in an efficient and humane way is a priority for the S&D Group in the 2016 budget. This €800 million will help countries facing the brunt of the crisis and shows that the EU is taking its responsibilities towards refugees seriously. It is now essential that Council recognises the importance of this and does not attempt to cut or water down this amount in negotiations."
"Understandably the focus of the last few months has been dealing with the immediate flow of refugees; however we also need to better deal with the long term consequences of the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Libya and the Horn of Africa. A particular focus for our group is to ensure that children displaced by these conflicts continue to receive an education. We have managed to secure an increase in the funding available to support education in the EU's humanitarian aid budget in 2016. It will now rise from 1% to 3% of the aid budget (an increase of €26 million). Also an increase of €40 million for financial assistance to Palestine and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has been secured."
Jens Geier MEP, head of the S&D negotiating team for the 2016 budget, added:
"The European Parliament has passed a strong budget that makes the necessary resources available to tackle the challenges Europe faces - not just the refugee crisis but also the lack of growth and competiveness in Europe's economy. Like the world's worst surgeon, the Council had managed to cut out what we need to make Europe grow (research & development spending, funding for infrastructure etc) while leaving the fat untouched. We have managed to reverse these today by securing an extra €1.3 billion for Horizon 2020, the EU's research and development fund, and the Connecting Europe Facility, which funds cross border infrastructure projects. We are committed to protecting this in the final agreement."
"We are also pleased to have secured a consensus for the EU budget for agencies. More and more tasks are being assigned to the EU agencies and it is essential that they have the resources they need to do their job effectively. This is particularly true for those dealing with migration but also those dealing with employment, financial regulation and the Eurozone. We are therefore pleased to have secured an extra €26 million for agencies handling with the refugee crisis, including creation of 95 additional posts, and additional €5.38 million for the European Banking Authority (EBA), European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), and European Security and Markets Authority (ESMA)."
"We also voted to support the €500 million emergency package designed to support dairy farmers who have been affected by falling commodity prices, Russia's import ban and increased milk production since the abolition of quotas."