European towns and cities are waiting for the EU long-term budget
The URBAN Intergroup held an online seminar on the “Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and Next Generation EU – State of play. What is at stake for local and regional authorities?” on Friday November 27th between 9:00 and 11:00.
Fabienne Keller, Vice-President of the URBAN Intergroup, welcomed all the participants by reminding that the MFF negotiations is a crucial moment because we define the EU budget for the next seven years. Currently it is even more crucial due to the crises that we are facing and an unprecedent Recovery Fund that should help European economies to recover. “Communities and cities in Europe expect a lot from European solidarity. We are aware that for example difficult neighbourhoods in our cities are particularly affected by the health crises. Pre-existed precariousness had exacerbated, such as difficulties in access to employment, housing or education. We must assure that local authorities, cities will benefit from European solidarity through the EU budget and recovery plan!” – she added.
Andreas Schieder, Vice-President of the URBAN Intergroup, in his introductory remarks underlined some elements of the MFF and Recover package. He highlighted the importance of the Recover and Resilience Facility, which aim is to give the answer to social and economic consequences of the COVID crises. He mentioned as well the rule of law mechanism, which is currently the most discussed issue, and the idea on new own resources of the EU budget.
“We all know that urban areas are in a specific situation. Economic and social crises are particularly effecting urban areas and local economies. Therefore, the EU funding is extremely important to support cities in facing all the challenges. Today, cultural industry or truism are strongly effected by lockdown and that is why Recovery and Resilience funding is so needed” he insisted.
Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, explained as MFF co-rapporteur the three elements of the whole budgetary package and different procedures to adopt them. Firstly, he presented the Recovery Fund and the idea of the mutualisation of common debt. The Recovery Fund is closely linked to the Own Resources decision which will allows for the borrowing capacity of the Union in financial markets. This Own Resources decision should be voted unanimously not only by the Council, but must be ratified by all the national parliaments.
Secondly, he presented the state of play of the MFF negotiations (EU 7-year budget) and the victory of the European Parliament to add EUR 16 billion (2018 prices) to reinforce EU future- oriented programmes such as Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, EU4Health, Creative Europe or Rights and Values programme. During the negotiations, the Parliament focused as well its efforts on securing a roadmap for the introduction of new own resources in the course of the next MFF.
Thirdly, the rule of law mechanism has been mentioned as legally independent from other elements in the package however this element is politically the most crucial in the whole process.
During the debate with participants, the need for a swift adoption of the future MFF and the Recovery Fund has been expressed several times. Moreover, representatives of local authorities underlined the danger of renationalisation of policies, especially in the times of pandemics.
In the conclusions of the meeting, participants launched the idea of running “positive campaigns” in order to secure the active involvement of local and regional governments, not only in decision making, but also in implementation of recovery plans at national and European level.