EU’s post-2020 budget must match its ambitions
The EU should boost research programmes and support young people and small firms, say MEPs in their draft negotiating position for the EU’s next long-term EU budget, up for a debate on Tuesday and a vote on Wednesday.
The next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) should continue to support farming and regional policies, but also finance new priorities such as security, defence or migration and make up for any shortfall following the UK’s departure, says the draft text.
To take effect, the new budget needs Parliament’s consent. MEPs warn that “no agreement can be concluded on the MFF without corresponding headway being made on own resources” – i.e. the revenue side of the EU budget. Expenditure and revenue should thus be treated as a single package.
Besides the MFF text, Parliament will debate and vote on a resolution which advocates maintaining existing own resourcesand progressively introducing new ones such as a financial services tax, a share of tax from firms in the digital sector or environmental taxes. GNI-based direct contributions from EU member states should be reduced accordingly.
For further details on these draft positions see this press release.
- Over 94% of the EU budget goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers and businesses. The EU's administrative expenses account for under 6% of the total, with salaries accounting for around half of that 6% (source: European Commission)
- A survey shows that Europeans expect solutions from the EU. Most respondents think that Europe should do more to tackle a wide range of issues, from security, to migration and unemployment (source: Eurobarometer).
The two positions provide Parliament’s input to Commission legislative proposals due in May 2018.
They call for talks between Parliament and the EU Commission and Council to start without delay, to try to reach an agreement before the European elections in 2019.
Debate: Tuesday, 13 March
Vote: Wednesday, 14 March
Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions
Press conference: Wednesday, 14 March at 14:00 (tbc)
Parliament to set out its vision for post-Brexit future
A resolution laying out the European Parliament’s position on a possible framework for EU-UK future relations after Brexit will be debated on Tuesday and put to a vote on Wednesday. The vote comes ahead of the 22-23 March EU summit in Brussels.
The draft resolution, prepared by the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group and approved by the Conference of Presidents (President and political group leaders), suggests that an association agreement between the EU and the UK could provide an appropriate framework for the future relationship.
It also stresses that the EU has binding common rules, common institutions and common supervisory, enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms, which is meant to clarify that even closely aligned third countries with identical legislation cannot enjoy similar benefits or market access as EU member states.
EU heads of state or government are expected to approve the Council’s guidelines for the negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU at the March meeting. MEPs will also debate other items on the summit agenda, such as jobs and competitiveness, taxation and EU external relations.
Debate: Tuesday, 14 March
Vote: Wednesday, 15 March
Procedure: Debate with Council and Commission, with a resolution
EU corporate taxation: overhaul to include digital firms and stamp out avoidance
In a bid to prevent firms moving their tax base to low-tax jurisdictions, MEPs will vote on Thursday on a major overhaul of the EU’s corporate tax system.
The changes are set out in two complementary pieces of legislation: the Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) and the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) which together aim to create a single, clear and fair corporate tax regime in Europe.
The proposals include plans to ensure that firms pay taxes where they make their profits, introduce a single set of tax rules which would apply throughout the EU and use of digital data to help calculate tax liabilities.
Debate: Wednesday, 14 March
Vote: Thursday, 15 March
Press Conference: Wednesday, 14 March (tbc)
Safety of journalists and (mis)use of EU funds in Slovakia
Following the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, the safety of journalists in Slovakia and across the EU will be debated on Wednesday afternoon.
MEPs will also discuss Mr Kuciak’s revelations in his last article, published posthumously, about alleged misuse of EU funds in Slovakia and potential links between organised crime groups and Slovak politicians. The debate will be wound up by a resolution to be voted on in the next plenary session.
Parliament also sent an ad-hoc delegation of six MEPs on a two-day fact-finding mission to Slovakia on Wednesday 7 March to look into the situation on the ground.
Parliament honoured the memory of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kušnírová with a minute’s silence at its plenary session on 28 February. Its President Antonio Tajani strongly condemned the murders, stressing that the freedom of press must be ensured and calling on the Slovak authorities to “uncover the truth”.
Debate: Wednesday, 14 March
Vote: April plenary
Procedure: Council and Commission statements followed by a debate and a resolution
Portuguese PM António Costa to debate future of Europe with MEPs
Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa will be the third EU leader to debate the future of Europe with MEPs on Wednesday morning.
António Costa was a Socialist MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament from July 2004 to March 2005, when he resigned to become Minister of State and Home Affairs in Portugal. Amongst other political roles, Mr Costa was also Mayor of Lisbon for eight years. He became Prime Minister on 26 November 2015.
This will be the third of a series of debates between EU heads of state or government and MEPs on the future of the European Union, after Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on 17 January and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on 6 February.
EP President Antonio Tajani and Portugal’s PM António Costa will give a joint press conference after the debate in plenary, at around 12.30.
The next future of Europe debate, with French President Emmanuel Macron, is scheduled for the April plenary session.
Debate: Wednesday, 14 March
Press conference: Wednesday, 14 March, at around 12.30, in Daphné Caruana Galizia room, LOW N-1/201
US trade restrictions and how to protect EU jobs and business
Additional US duties on imported steel and aluminium and the EU’s response will be debated with EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on Wednesday.
Speakers will discuss President Donald Trump’s plans to impose new US duties on steel and aluminium imports, and the EU’s planned countermeasures, along with the possible impact on EU jobs, investment and prices and the mitigating measures needed to protect EU citizens.
Parliament’s International Trade Committee was quick to condemn the US move and strongly support the EU Commission in giving a firm and immediate response that is in line with international trade law.
In a separate debate on Wednesday, MEPs are set to quiz the Commission on action planned after the US imposed new tariffs on imports of Spanish olives. A resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.
Debate: Wednesday, 14 March
Vote: Thursday, 15 March (US tariffs on Spanish olives)
Procedure: Commission statement without resolution, Oral question to the Commission with resolution
Press conference: TBC
MEPs to vote on Luis De Guindos’ candidature for ECB Vice-President
Spanish former finance minister Luis De Guindos’ bid to become Vice-President of the European Central Bank will be put to a vote on Wednesday. But the nomination process must be improved, say MEPs.
Mr De Guindos’ nomination was approved by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, on 27 February, but MEPs expressed reservations about the selection procedure, gender balance within the ECB, the timing of the appointment and the political independence of the nominee. They urged the Council to engage with Parliament to improve the process for future appointments.
Parliament is being consulted on the appointment decided by EU finance ministers, but has no formal right to veto it. Mr De Guindos became the only contender for the post as the only other candidate, Irish central banker Philip Lane, withdrew his candidature.
Vote: Wednesday, 13 March
Promotion of Martin Selmayr to Commission Secretary-General
Following German civil servant Martin Selmayr’s appointment as European Commission Secretary-General, MEPs are set to debate the integrity policy of the EU executive on Monday afternoon.
The move has drawn criticism from some MEPs, who want answers to questions about the transparency, integrity and accountability of the whole process.
Mr Selmayr previously served as cabinet chief to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. He became Commission Secretary-General on 1 March, replacing Dutch civil servant Alexander Italianer as head of the institution’s 32,000 strong workforce.
Debate: Monday, 12 March
Procedure: Commission statement