Parliament anticipated, Parliament warned.
The S&D Group has continually raised concerns regarding the structural insufficiencies and scarcity of resources available under the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). When negotiating the MFF for the period 2014- 2020, the S&D Group highlighted the implications of reduced resources. The European Parliament, and the S&D Group in particular, were strongly against a reduction of resources, and only accepted this after securing several successes including: enhanced flexibility (for both commitment and payments appropriations); an obligatory mid-term review of the MFF followed by a revision (to take into account forthcoming political developments); agreement on a roadmap to reform the system of financing of the EU (setting up a High Level Working Group on Own Resources); as well as some sectorial policy priorities, such as dedicating resources to the fight against youth unemployment. However, not all of the S&D Group demands were fully met. The last two years proved us right and demonstrated how much more still needs to be done.
Since 2013, the EU has faced a growing number of crises which have not been fully addressed due to the weaknesses and low level of the EU budget. The investment shortfall in Europe, the high level of unemployment, especially of youth unemployment, the Russian embargo on agricultural products, the refugee and migrant crisis, and the reintroduction of temporary border controls in the Schengen area, have shown that solving crises like these can only be done at European level. A political commitment to address these crises must be followed by extra budgetary means. However, the MFF ceilings under the different political headings have proven to be too tight. The MFF has been pushed to its limits.
The EU must be ready to provide the necessary means for implementing its policies. A mandatory mid-term review accompanied by a proposal for a revision is due by the end of 2016. It is now the time to propose necessary changes to respond to the budgetary failures currently jeopardizing the credibility of the European Union. The S&D Group strongly believes that the only way for the EU to live up to its responsibilities and protect its citizens, whilst also responding to the crises, is to raise the ceilings and enhance the flexibility of the MFF.
The MFF review and revision will be a testing time for relations between the European Parliament and the Council. In 2013, we conceded a political agreement to the other institutions in a spirit of fruitful cooperation. Any attempts, however, to further delay or even stop the revision would further weaken the credibility of the European Institutions.