FUTURE OF EUROPE

Mairead McGuinness MEP Backs Call for Greater EU Budgetary Resources

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Mairead McGuinness MEP and First Vice-President of the European Parliament has welcomed comments from European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, that EU budgetary resources need to be strengthened beyond the current levels.

Speaking at a high level conference “Shaping our Future – Designing the Next Multiannual Financial Framework” on the future of the EU budget,  Mr Juncker rejected the sometimes divisive view between net payers and net recipients of the EU budget, claiming that all member states are recipients from the budget.

“President Juncker is ambitious for the future of the EU budget acknowledging that the budget needs to be strengthened not weakened,” McGuinness said.

“There is a need to address new policy areas and new funding is therefore required. There is pressure to increase spending on numerous fronts, including border protection and migration generally. There may also be a need for additional funding to protect some EU regions against losses arising due to Brexit.

“Raiding existing policies to fund new ones is not acceptable. There are concerns that there will be pressure on the budget for the Common Agriculture policy, at a time when additional demands are being made on the policy and on farmers.”

Brexit could result in a gap of at least €9 billion per year, the Midlands North West MEP warned.

However, the extent of the shortfall will be determined by the policy areas which the U.K. might continue to be part of and therefore contribute financially to.

“The Commission President said the remaining EU members would have to pay more to finance existing and new priorities and urged member states to move away from the current ceiling of 1pc of economic output.

“I support his comments that we need more than 1pc of European GDP, if we are to pursue new and existing EU policies and fund them adequately.

“The EU needs to set out its priorities for a stronger Europe and make funds available to match that ambition,” Vice-President McGuinness added.

Total annual economic output of the EU is roughly €20 trillion, or €17.5 trillion, excluding the UK. The current EU budget is €160.1 billion. The next Multiannual Financial Framework will run from 2020 to 2027.