S&D Group leader, Iratxe García, blames the EU Council for its lack of a European perspective in their discussions on the pluri-annual EU budget 2021-2027. Leaders are obsessed with nation-driven penny pinching and they are missing the bigger picture. The inability to reach an acceptable middle ground endangers existing projects, as well as future ones, but also reveals deep differences of vision between member states.
Today's deadlock does not bring a good omen for future negotiations. It shows, however, a lack of progressive approach from the Council.
The European Parliament has been ready to open negotiations on the MFF since November 2018. Political groups will not be blackmailed into accepting the Council's proposal under the pressure of time constraints.
Iratxe García, S&D Group president, reacts:
“I am very worried by the debate I see in the Council. And I am not talking about the figures or the percentage of Gross National Income. I am very worried by the lack of European vision. What worries me is the lack of trust in our common project, the lack of will to push forward the agenda.
“This is about believing that we achieve more when we act together. I hope the Council understands that. It is important that some member states understand that there is no opposition between the EU and them: member states are at the core of the common project. They always have been.
“Those countries that are net payers are also the most benefitted from the single market. Our integration process creates new economic dynamics that must be accompanied by solidarity mechanisms. It is not charity, it is a system that either works for all, or it works for no one.
“We cannot accept the proposal of the Council because there would be losers in Europe. Of course, we want to fight climate change and we want the digital transformation, but we won’t accept that the most vulnerable pay for it.
“We don’t want to create more inequalities. The EU budget must be used to create new opportunities and to reduce already existing inequalities.
“We all agree on the agenda for the future, but we want to make sure that no one will be left behind in that transition. We will not accept that programmes that give opportunities to the young are undermined, such as the programmes for youth employment, research, Erasmus and the Child Guarantee.”