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Next Generation EU: A European instrument to counter the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

06-07-2020

The socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the European Union (EU) is posing significant challenges, not least to the good functioning of the single market and the euro area. This has led to a growing consensus on the need for a common recovery plan to complement national stimulus packages. The European Commission has put forward a proposal to establish a €750 billion European recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, to reinforce the EU's 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework ...

The socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the European Union (EU) is posing significant challenges, not least to the good functioning of the single market and the euro area. This has led to a growing consensus on the need for a common recovery plan to complement national stimulus packages. The European Commission has put forward a proposal to establish a €750 billion European recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, to reinforce the EU's 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF). The instrument would be financed from funds borrowed on the markets by the Commission on behalf of the EU, while a mix of new and already planned instruments under the EU budget would channel expenditure, combining grants (€500 billion) and loans (€250 billion). The proposal, which aims to focus on the geographical areas and sectors hardest hit by the crisis, seeks to ensure an economic rebound that is also about quality, since expenditure is to be in line with jointly agreed EU objectives such as the green and digital transitions. National allocations under the largest instrument, a new Recovery and Resilience Facility, are to address challenges identified in the context of the European Semester. The recovery instrument includes various proposals in which the European Parliament is involved to varying extents, depending on the issue at stake. The channelling of resources through the EU budget means that Parliament would be co-legislator of relevant spending instruments, and exercise democratic scrutiny of expenditure through the discharge procedure. The budgetary authority would not however determine annual expenditure of Next Generation EU in the budgetary procedure since financing would be based on external assigned revenue. The Commission has called for an agreement to be reached in July 2020, in order for the recovery instrument to be operational as of 2021. A €11.5 billion bridging solution would address some objectives already in 2020. Elements expected to be at the heart of the complex negotiations, which are linked to those on the 2021-2027 MFF, are: the size of the instrument; the mix of grants and loans; the allocation of resources between Member States; reform of the financing system of the EU budget with new own resources; and the repayment of the borrowed resources.

Establishing an MFF contingency plan

11-05-2020

The EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) should start on 1 January 2021, but the negotiations have encountered delays in the European Council and Council. During the May plenary part-session, the European Parliament is expected to vote a report by its Committee on Budgets, asking the Commission to prepare urgently a legislative proposal for a contingency plan should the post-2020 MFF not be agreed on time. The objective would be to provide a safety net to protect beneficiaries of EU funds ...

The EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) should start on 1 January 2021, but the negotiations have encountered delays in the European Council and Council. During the May plenary part-session, the European Parliament is expected to vote a report by its Committee on Budgets, asking the Commission to prepare urgently a legislative proposal for a contingency plan should the post-2020 MFF not be agreed on time. The objective would be to provide a safety net to protect beneficiaries of EU funds, while ensuring that the EU budget can keep contributing to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its socio-economic consequences.

Discharge procedure for the EU Budget: Political scrutiny of budgetary implementation

05-05-2020

The European Commission is ultimately responsible for the execution of the European Union's budget. However, the process also involves a range of other players, including Member States, to which the Commission delegates implementing tasks relating to a significant share of the budget. Each year, the discharge procedure ensures that there is ex-post democratic oversight at political level of how the EU's annual budget has been used. It aims to verify whether implementation was in accordance with relevant ...

The European Commission is ultimately responsible for the execution of the European Union's budget. However, the process also involves a range of other players, including Member States, to which the Commission delegates implementing tasks relating to a significant share of the budget. Each year, the discharge procedure ensures that there is ex-post democratic oversight at political level of how the EU's annual budget has been used. It aims to verify whether implementation was in accordance with relevant rules (compliance), including the principles of sound financial management (performance). The decision on whether to grant discharge for the execution of the EU budget is made by the European Parliament, which acts on a non-binding recommendation by the Council, the other arm of the EU budgetary authority. Another key institution is the European Court of Auditors, the EU's independent external auditor, whose reports are a fundamental part of the procedure. The discharge procedure has proved to be a powerful tool, which has had an impact on the evolution of the EU's budgetary system, while helping to increase the Parliament's political leverage. Recent years have shown a trend towards a greater focus on results and performance, strongly supported and promoted by the European Parliament. For example, the 2018 version of the EU's Financial Regulation simplified the rules for budgetary implementation and introduced the 'single audit' approach to shared management. Another noteworthy issue is the question of how to ensure EU-level democratic scrutiny of financial tools set up to respond to crises either outside the EU's institutional framework (e.g. the European Stability Mechanism) or at least partially outside the EU budget (e.g. EU trust funds). This Briefing updates a previous edition of April 2016.

European Green Deal Investment Plan: Main elements and possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic

16-04-2020

The von der Leyen Commission launched the European Green Deal as the new growth strategy of the European Union (EU), with a view to promoting the transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050. Confirming the importance of financial resources for such a major objective, its investment pillar was the first initiative of the strategy to be presented. The European Green Deal Investment Plan, also known as the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, aims to contribute to financing a sustainable transition ...

The von der Leyen Commission launched the European Green Deal as the new growth strategy of the European Union (EU), with a view to promoting the transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050. Confirming the importance of financial resources for such a major objective, its investment pillar was the first initiative of the strategy to be presented. The European Green Deal Investment Plan, also known as the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, aims to contribute to financing a sustainable transition, while supporting the regions and communities most exposed to its impact. By combining legislative and non-legislative initiatives, the plan addresses three aspects: 1) mobilising funding worth at least €1 trillion from the EU budget and other public and private sources over the next decade; 2) putting sustainability at the heart of investment decisions across all sectors; and 3) providing support to public administrations and project promoters to create a robust pipeline of sustainable projects. The debate on the investment plan is interlinked with the ongoing negotiations on the EU’s 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which requires the European Parliament’s consent and unanimity in the Council. Parliament, which is traditionally a strong advocate of climate and environmental objectives, has called for an ambitious MFF, with resources commensurate with the goal of facilitating a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy. Commentators have identified both positive elements and possible weaknesses in the Commission’s plan, arguing that it is a step in the right direction but would provide only part of the resources needed to meet the current climate targets for 2030. The impact of the pandemic has raised concerns that decarbonisation strategies could be derailed. However, analysts and stakeholders generally agree on their continued relevance, arguing that green investments from public and private sources must play a central role in any economic recovery plan.

Temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE)

15-04-2020

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is having a major negative impact on employment. As part of the EU’s response to the crisis, the European Commission has proposed the creation of SURE, a temporary instrument to complement national efforts to protect employees and the self-employed from the risk of unemployment and loss of income. Under the scheme, the EU would be able to provide financial support worth up to €100 billion to 'short-time work' schemes and other national measures that have this objective ...

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is having a major negative impact on employment. As part of the EU’s response to the crisis, the European Commission has proposed the creation of SURE, a temporary instrument to complement national efforts to protect employees and the self-employed from the risk of unemployment and loss of income. Under the scheme, the EU would be able to provide financial support worth up to €100 billion to 'short-time work' schemes and other national measures that have this objective. The Eurogroup has welcomed the proposal, which the Council should now fine-tune and adopt rapidly. While the instrument is linked to the EU budget through a guarantee scheme, Parliament is not involved in the legislative procedure due to the legal basis.

Economic and Budgetary Outlook for the European Union 2020

31-01-2020

This study, the fourth in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the EU and euro area and their two-year trends. It explains the annual EU budget, provides an overview of its headings for 2020, and sets out the wider budgetary framework – the multiannual financial framework (MFF) – and its possible evolution in the new decade. A special 'economic focus' puts the spotlight on the international ...

This study, the fourth in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the EU and euro area and their two-year trends. It explains the annual EU budget, provides an overview of its headings for 2020, and sets out the wider budgetary framework – the multiannual financial framework (MFF) – and its possible evolution in the new decade. A special 'economic focus' puts the spotlight on the international role of the euro, and on various recent EU-level initiatives in this field.

Migration and border management: Heading 4 of the 2021-2027 MFF

23-01-2020

The Treaty of Lisbon makes explicit reference to pooling financial resources to support common policies on asylum, immigration and external borders. While expenditure for these policy areas still represents a minor share of the EU budget, it has recently increased in the wake of the 2015-2016 refugee crisis. Since the resources available under the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the EU proved insufficient to address the crisis, EU institutions had to use the flexibility provisions ...

The Treaty of Lisbon makes explicit reference to pooling financial resources to support common policies on asylum, immigration and external borders. While expenditure for these policy areas still represents a minor share of the EU budget, it has recently increased in the wake of the 2015-2016 refugee crisis. Since the resources available under the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the EU proved insufficient to address the crisis, EU institutions had to use the flexibility provisions of the MFF extensively. Given the increasing salience of the policy areas, the European Commission has proposed the establishment of a specific heading devoted to migration and border management worth €30.8 billion (2018 prices) in the 2021-2027 MFF. As compared with the current period, these allocations would represent a significant increase in relative terms, especially as regards border management. The heading would finance two funding instruments, the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) and the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF), as well as the activities of relevant EU decentralised agencies, such as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Asylum Support Office. By designing these new funds, the European Commission seeks to improve synergies with other EU funding instruments and increase capacity to react to evolving needs. Negotiations for the MFF package are very complex, involving different legislative procedures for the adoption of the overall MFF and the sector-specific instruments. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Council are working on the proposals, which have also triggered reactions from other stakeholders, including academics, think-tanks and commentators.

Mainstreaming of climate action in the EU budget: Impact of a political objective

11-10-2019

Facilitating the transition to a climate-friendly and resilient economy requires huge investments. The EU has committed to spending 20 % of its 2014-2020 financial resources on climate-related measures. Against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement and of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, such a high-level political objective acquires new salience in the negotiations for the post-2020 EU budget. The European Commission has proposed to raise this objective to 25 % of the EU ...

Facilitating the transition to a climate-friendly and resilient economy requires huge investments. The EU has committed to spending 20 % of its 2014-2020 financial resources on climate-related measures. Against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement and of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, such a high-level political objective acquires new salience in the negotiations for the post-2020 EU budget. The European Commission has proposed to raise this objective to 25 % of the EU budget in the next programming period, while the European Parliament has called for an even more ambitious approach. Tracking and reporting climate-related expenditure pose several challenges. This analysis describes how climate action has been mainstreamed in the EU budget so far, as well as possible developments for the 2021 2027 period. The EU appears on track to almost reach its 20 % objective by 2020. Assessments of the tracking methodology and of its impact have identified both achievements and shortcomings. The creation of a broad political objective is deemed to act as a driver of increased focus on climate considerations across different policies. Recommendations for improvements include the development of a stronger performance framework.

Post-2020 EU budget

07-10-2019

During the October I part-session, the Council and the Commission are to make statements on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and own resources. Parliament is expected to vote on a motion for a resolution confirming and updating its position on the negotiations that will determine how the EU will finance and invest its budget in the future.

During the October I part-session, the Council and the Commission are to make statements on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and own resources. Parliament is expected to vote on a motion for a resolution confirming and updating its position on the negotiations that will determine how the EU will finance and invest its budget in the future.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Johannes Hahn – Budget and Administration

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

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