The Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27: Europe’s Seven Year Itch

On 20 February 2020, European Union (EU) leaders gathered in Brussels for a two-day summit to discuss the next EU long-term budget for the period 2021-2027, also known as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). With EU budget negotiations historically difficult, this latest round was expected to be no different, particularly in the wake of the UK’s exit from the Union. 

The summit ended after 28 hours of talks, with negotiators from the European Parliament and European Council unable to reach agreement on how to bridge the gap between the wealthy net contributor nations who want to reduce the budget and less prosperous Member States who do not want cuts to the next MFF. 

The European Parliament’s negotiating team stated that the draft budget (negotiating box) presented by President of the European Council Charles Michel fell ‘well below’ expectations and risked compromising funding for ‘agriculture, cohesion, research, infrastructure investments, digitalisation, SMEs, Erasmus, youth employment, migration, defence and many other areas’. 

The Council’s draft budget made cuts of about €10 billion per year compared to the original proposal, including a Horizon Europe budget reduction of €20 million and 27% instead of 30% more money for CO2 reduction and climate stabilisation as part of the Green Deal. 

European Parliament President David Sassoli supported his negotiating team, going as far as to claim that Parliament was willing to vote down proposals that would prevent the EU from tackling the many challenges it faces. 

The full version of this article will be published in March’s RESEARCHconnect Bulletin.

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