In what can be considered the most important vote of this parliamentary year, Socialists and Democrats secure key achievements to provide the EU with an ambitious recovery plan and multiannual budget to mend the dramatic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, while boosting the fight against climate change and protecting EU financial interests. After more than two years of tough negotiations, the agreement on the €1.8 trillion financial package has been sealed by the European Parliament in a late voting session on Wednesday. The final package includes key social and environmental priorities, as well as a top-up of €16 billion for flagship programmes, strong regulations conditioning EU funds to the respect of the rule of law and a commitment for the introduction of new resources for the EU budget.
Margarida Marques MEP, European Parliament negotiator, said:
“Once again, we did it! The Socialists and Democrats are fully committed to a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery never leaving behind the long-term policies of the Union that will persist after the pandemic.
“Today’s vote represents the concrete achievements of our long fights with the member states for a stronger long term budget and new own resources for at least the repayment of the economic recovery! We will never trade values for money and, from now on, access to EU budget funds is conditional on respecting the rule of law and EU fundamental rights.
“We do not want 2020 to be remembered just as the year of the pandemic. We want 2020 to go down in history as a year of solidarity, as the first time ever when all European member states and EU institutions came together to negotiate and agree on the strongest EU financial response ever: €1.8 trillion.
“We now have more resources to support those most impacted by the crisis, like women and young people, and to European priorities such as health, innovation, culture, EU values and humanitarian aid! The European answer for the Recovery is on its way! It is now time for a smart implementation!”
Eider Gardiazabal MEP, European Parliament negotiator, said:
“We finally have an agreement on the entire package and an agreement that I evaluate very positively. My assessment is very positive because we have managed to negotiate crucial points, which were essential conditions for the parliament to accept the package. The first has been to not consider the position of the July council as closed and non-negotiable, and this has meant that we have managed to increase the budget for the next 7 years by €16 billion. €16 billion from which important programmes such as Health, Erasmus, research, Creative Europe, the Cooperation Instrument or humanitarian aid, among others, will benefit.
“The second, to have a calendar for the introduction of own resources. I have said it many times: there are many reasons why this agreement could not go ahead without a compromise on how we are going to finance, not only the European budget, but also the Recovery Plan. It is a matter of tax justice. It cannot be that there are the ‘usual suspects’ who maintain public policies by paying their taxes, and that they are also the other ‘suspects’, those who escape from contributing. This is a matter of efficiency, because the establishment of certain taxes only makes sense at the European level, under the umbrella of the single market. It is a matter of climate policy too, because those who pollute the most must pay more and contribute to financing the just transition.
“One other essential thing we have fought for is a mechanism that links budgets with respect for the rule of law. The European Union is a community based on common values that we must uphold and respect as citizens and as member states of the Union. This is not an à la carte Europe, as much as some may wish it, in which we can keep the rights and not the obligations! In the end, this is our mission. Negotiate, agree, build and define the Europe we want with these regulations.”