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Amending Budget No 5/2020: Continuation of support to refugees in response to the Syria crisis

07-07-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment ...

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment appropriations and €68 million in payment appropriations is proposed as urgent humanitarian support to refugees in Turkey under the Contingency Margin. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 5/2020 and the proposal to mobilise the Contingency Margin during its July plenary session.

Control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – Annual report 2018

06-07-2020

During its July plenary session, the European Parliament is set to discuss the Committee on Budgetary Control’s report on the control of the European Investment Bank's financial activities for 2018. Among other things, the report highlights the role of the Bank in financing the European Green Deal, the Just Transition Fund, and its future shift towards becoming 'the EU Climate Bank'. The report also stresses the need for more effectiveness and synergies when it comes to the European Fund for Strategic ...

During its July plenary session, the European Parliament is set to discuss the Committee on Budgetary Control’s report on the control of the European Investment Bank's financial activities for 2018. Among other things, the report highlights the role of the Bank in financing the European Green Deal, the Just Transition Fund, and its future shift towards becoming 'the EU Climate Bank'. The report also stresses the need for more effectiveness and synergies when it comes to the European Fund for Strategic Investments, and highlights the need for more transparency and accountability of all the Bank's operations, stronger external scrutiny and reinforced mechanisms to fight fraud and corruption.

The European Investment Bank's financial activities – 2019 annual report

06-07-2020

During its July plenary session, Parliament is scheduled to vote on the 2019 report on the European Investment Bank's financial activities, drafted by the Committee on Budgets. Among other things, the report highlights the need for the bank to put more focus on climate, digitalisation and just transition; further invest in the EU and beyond; provide continuous support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-cap firms; and ensure better governance and increased transparency.

During its July plenary session, Parliament is scheduled to vote on the 2019 report on the European Investment Bank's financial activities, drafted by the Committee on Budgets. Among other things, the report highlights the need for the bank to put more focus on climate, digitalisation and just transition; further invest in the EU and beyond; provide continuous support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-cap firms; and ensure better governance and increased transparency.

Amending Budget No 4/2020: Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria)

11-06-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 4/2020 (DAB 4/2020) accompanies the proposed decision to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of €279 million to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria following natural disasters that took place in these Member States in the course of 2019. It proposes to enter the necessary appropriations in the 2020 budget, both in commitments and payments, after deducting the advances already paid out (€6.5 million). The European Parliament is expected to vote ...

Draft Amending Budget No 4/2020 (DAB 4/2020) accompanies the proposed decision to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of €279 million to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria following natural disasters that took place in these Member States in the course of 2019. It proposes to enter the necessary appropriations in the 2020 budget, both in commitments and payments, after deducting the advances already paid out (€6.5 million). The European Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal to mobilise the Solidarity Fund and the Council position on DAB 4/2020 during its June plenary session.

Discharge for 2018 budget - EU decentralised agencies and joint undertakings

11-05-2020

At its May plenary session, in the context of the discharge procedure for the financial year 2018, the European Parliament is due to vote on the discharge for 32 EU decentralised agencies and eight joint undertakings for their implementation of the 2018 budget. The Committee on Budgetary Control proposes to grant discharge to all of these entities, yet highlights a number of areas that require further improvement.

At its May plenary session, in the context of the discharge procedure for the financial year 2018, the European Parliament is due to vote on the discharge for 32 EU decentralised agencies and eight joint undertakings for their implementation of the 2018 budget. The Committee on Budgetary Control proposes to grant discharge to all of these entities, yet highlights a number of areas that require further improvement.

Implementation of the EU trust funds and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Overview

16-03-2020

The EU trust funds (TFs) for external action and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey are innovative tools first introduced under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period, as made possible by the 2013 Financial Regulation (FR) applicable to the EU budget. Their objective has been to facilitate a swifter and more flexible response to emerging crises and fast moving events, for which funds earmarked in advance had proved insufficient. The EU has set up four trust funds ...

The EU trust funds (TFs) for external action and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey are innovative tools first introduced under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period, as made possible by the 2013 Financial Regulation (FR) applicable to the EU budget. Their objective has been to facilitate a swifter and more flexible response to emerging crises and fast moving events, for which funds earmarked in advance had proved insufficient. The EU has set up four trust funds since then, in addition to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which, despite some similarities with the trust funds, is a distinct coordination mechanism. The TFs' implementation is ongoing and the Commission reports to the European Parliament regularly on the state of play. Regular reports and evaluations have shown that the EU trust funds have had some positive results, and to some extent met their objectives. However, they have also raised questions. For instance, ad hoc instruments outside the EU budget fall short when it comes to democratic accountability: there is a general need for greater transparency and Parliament scrutiny. Moreover, there is a perceived risk that the TFs could be used to divert development aid funds towards other ends incompatible with official development assistance. While Parliament welcomed the introduction of the EU TFs, acknowledging their advantages, it has insisted that the setting up of instruments outside the EU budget should be the exception to the rule, mostly owing to the above-mentioned concerns. The aim should be to preserve the unity of the EU budget and the principles of accountability, transparency, effectiveness and sound budgetary management, and to safeguard Parliament's right to democratic scrutiny. As argued in a Cost of Non-Europe report, a better coordinated EU development aid budget, incorporating all external assistance, could prove more strategic, bringing efficiency gains, accountability and transparency. This briefing supplements an earlier EPRS briefing on EU trust funds, from November 2015, PE 572.797.

Financing the EU's administration: Heading 7 of the 2021-2027 MFF

24-01-2020

In May 2018, the European Commission published its proposal for the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, known as the multiannual financial framework (MFF). The proposed next MFF is structured in 7 headings, encompassing 17 policy clusters. The Commission has proposed a total budget of €1 134 583 million in current prices. The vast majority of these funds – over 93 % – is dedicated to a variety of EU programmes, and is invested primarily in Member States, as well as partially in partner countries ...

In May 2018, the European Commission published its proposal for the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, known as the multiannual financial framework (MFF). The proposed next MFF is structured in 7 headings, encompassing 17 policy clusters. The Commission has proposed a total budget of €1 134 583 million in current prices. The vast majority of these funds – over 93 % – is dedicated to a variety of EU programmes, and is invested primarily in Member States, as well as partially in partner countries as external spending. The remaining funds cover the administrative expenses of the EU, an underlying cost of all EU activities. In the current MFF for 2014-2020, Heading 5 covers administration, while in the proposed 2021-2027 MFF, administrative costs will be funded under Heading 7, entitled 'European public administration'. While in other policy areas there is more significant restructuring, the heading that covers EU administrative costs is comparable to that of the current MFF in size and structure. In its proposal for the future Heading 7, the Commission upholds its view that, to ensure the smooth functioning of the Union, the EU budget must finance its administration adequately, particularly in view of the fact that the EU civil service has undergone two successive and substantial reforms within a short time frame, in 2004 and 2014. The Commission proposal aims to ensure that the EU can rely on a highly qualified administrative service, which respects a geographical and gender balance. The proposal has been backed by the European Parliament. On the other hand, in its first draft 'negotiating box' including figures from December 2019, the Council proposed a 2.6 % cut to the allocations in the Commission proposal and Parliament's position.

Financing EU external action in the new MFF, 2021-2027: Heading 6 'Neighbourhood and the World'

13-11-2019

In May 2018, the European Commission published its proposals for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's seven-year budget for the 2021-2027 period, followed by proposals for the MFF's individual sectoral programmes. In the proposals, financing external action is covered under Heading 6, 'Neighbourhood and the World', which replaces the current Heading 4, 'Global Europe'. Taking into account the evolving context both internationally and within the EU, as well as the conclusions of ...

In May 2018, the European Commission published its proposals for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's seven-year budget for the 2021-2027 period, followed by proposals for the MFF's individual sectoral programmes. In the proposals, financing external action is covered under Heading 6, 'Neighbourhood and the World', which replaces the current Heading 4, 'Global Europe'. Taking into account the evolving context both internationally and within the EU, as well as the conclusions of the current MFF's mid-term review, the Commission has proposed changes to the EU external action budget in order to make it simpler and more flexible, and to enable the EU to engage more strategically with its partner countries in the future. The proposed Heading 6 comes with increased resources and important structural changes. It envisages merging the majority of the current stand-alone external financing instruments into a single one – the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – as well as integrating into it the biggest EU external financing fund – the European Development Fund – currently outside the budget. Another proposed novelty is to set up an off-budget instrument – the European Peace Facility – to fund security and defence-related actions. With these changes, the Commission strives to take into account, among other things, the need for the EU to align its actions with its new and renewed international commitments under the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement, the new EU Global Strategy, the European Consensus on Development, the European Neighbourhood Policy, and to make EU added value, relevance and credibility more visible. Negotiations on the 2021-2027 MFF are under way. The final decision is to be taken by the Council, acting by unanimity, with the European Parliament's consent. However, in view of current political realities and the financial implications of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the adoption of a modern budget for the future remains a challenge that is not limited to Heading 6. Further developments are expected by the end of 2019.

Amending budget No 2/2019: Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+

13-09-2019

The European Commission's Draft Amending Budget No 2 aims to reinforce two key programmes for EU competitiveness: Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+. The intended increase amounts to €100 million of commitment appropriations for the two programmes, with no reinforcement in payment appropriations envisaged. A vote on this proposal, which reflects the agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the 2019 budget, is scheduled for the September plenary session.

The European Commission's Draft Amending Budget No 2 aims to reinforce two key programmes for EU competitiveness: Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+. The intended increase amounts to €100 million of commitment appropriations for the two programmes, with no reinforcement in payment appropriations envisaged. A vote on this proposal, which reflects the agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the 2019 budget, is scheduled for the September plenary session.

Reconciliation in the Western Balkans: The difficulty of emulating the EU model

17-04-2019

In 2017, the European Union turned 60, celebrating not only six decades of peace between its Member States but also integration – based on a framework for a peaceful European ethos – which helped bring reconciliation to its citizens that would have otherwise been impossible to achieve. In the Western Balkans, which were torn apart by wars after the disintegration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, conflicting narratives about the past continue to charge intra-regional relations with animosity ...

In 2017, the European Union turned 60, celebrating not only six decades of peace between its Member States but also integration – based on a framework for a peaceful European ethos – which helped bring reconciliation to its citizens that would have otherwise been impossible to achieve. In the Western Balkans, which were torn apart by wars after the disintegration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, conflicting narratives about the past continue to charge intra-regional relations with animosity, and a number of bilateral disputes await resolution. Just as the European Communities helped to bring peace to post-World War II western Europe, so does the EU promote the reconciliation process in the countries that were once part of Yugoslavia. A credible promise of accession to the EU for all Western Balkan countries gives them an incentive to improve their working relationships and work on reconciliation more vigorously. Since 2017, the EU has renewed its attempts to infuse the Western Balkan countries' enlargement process with fresh energy. In a March 2018 statement, the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, said it was 'time to close the wounds of the past' and take steps to guarantee stability for the whole of Europe. The European Commission's new enlargement strategy of February 2018, apart from placing special emphasis on solving all bilateral disputes, highlights reconciliation as a prerequisite for EU accession, and envisages a dedicated flagship initiative. This briefing aims to draw attention to the importance of reconciliation, both as part of the Western Balkans' EU integration process and as an answer to the region's widely perceived need to come to terms with the past. Civil-society representatives and experts often see reconciliation in the region as a prerequisite for building sustainable cooperation in many areas and a process that would help local youth to overcome their prejudices and restore their trust in their countries and region. However, achieving reconciliation requires cooperation in practice, something that will likely take decades to accomplish.

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