The European Commission finalised its proposals on the future financial framework of the EU yesterday, including a proposal for a new own resources system to finance the future EU budget. The Greens welcomed the proposals on own resources but regretted that the Commission sought to present what is in effect a budget freeze as an increase. Commenting on the proposals on own resources, Green budgetary spokesperson Helga Trüpel said:
"The Commission has grasped the bull by the horns in proposing a meaningful new own resources system. This is the only way to ensure real European budgetary planning and to end the self-defeating annual squabbling on the EU budget. It will also allow for a reduction of the direct contributions from the budgets of individual member states and is thus a win-win proposal.
"Crucially, the Commission is proposing a financial transaction tax (FTT), a long-standing Green demand, which will also help address the excesses of the financial sector. We now need to convene a high-level budgetary convention, involving national parliaments in particular, so that the introduction of an FTT and a real VAT resource will actually see the daylight.
"While the proposals on own resources system are to be welcomed, we regret that the Commission has sought dress up its proposals as an increase in the EU budget when they in fact represent little more than a freeze. By counting expenditure hitherto considered outside the EU budget (for example the European Development Fund), the Commission has artificially boosted the planned financial perspectives and presented a budget freeze as an increase."
Green shadow draftsperson on the future financing of the EU Bas Eickhout added:
"An honest debate on the EU budget should be based on transparency and not accounting chicanery. Creating smoke-screens by shifting budget lines is not the way to do this. In the same vein, it is simply dishonest to claim, as some member states do, that the growing competences and challenges of the EU can be financed by a static or decreased budget. We need a real debate based on budgetary transparency and devoid of misleading populist polemic.
"It is too early to judge the details of the planned expenditure in different policy areas, as this will depend on the detailed legislative proposals per policy area. The Greens believe the EU budget must prioritise green growth and equip Europe to catch up in the global green economic transformation. To this end, the European Parliament supported Green calls to prioritise energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and this needs to be reflected in the budgetary allocations for concrete projects."