The Plenary sitting of the European Parliament (EP) adopted on Wednesday the Report on the General Guidelines for the preparation of the 2018 EU Budget, drafted by MEP Siegfried Mureșan (EPP), chief negotiator for the 2018 EU Budget.
The resolution was approved by the MEPs with 445 votes “in favor,” 134 votes “against,” and 101 abstentions. The draft resolution has been debated in the plenary of the EP on Tuesday evening, after the document was presented by the Chief negotiator of the EP.
Having as motto “A budget for growth, jobs and security”, Siegfried Mureșan’s report on 2018 EU Budget calls on the Commission to put forward a Draft Budget that will enable the EU to continue generating prosperity and security for its citizens.
The Chief negotiator of the EP for the annual budget of the EU for 2018 pleaded within the debate that the policy priorities of the Union’s budget for the next year aim at economic growth, creating jobs and ensuring the security on a European level.
He explained that in order to achieve the objectives connected to the economic growth and creating jobs the EU needs to invest more in “infrastructure, innovation and research.”
“The priorities that I have put forward in the Report are jobs and growth on the one side and security on the other. The EU Budget is an investment budget and we will use it to improve infrastructure, to support research and innovation, to stand by the side of SMEs and entrepreneurs, as they are the main creators of jobs and I believe that these are the areas which bring real added value to our economies. The more competitive we are, the more investments come in and that generates growth and jobs,” said Muresan.
“Programmes such as Horizon 2020, COSME, Connecting Europe Facility or EFSI are crucial in delivering sustainable growth in Europe, must continue and be permanently improved,” he added.
The Chief negotiator of the EP spoke in his presentation about other financial provisions of the EU budget for 2018, underlining the necessity of strengthening the Erasmus programme and the implementation of the “Interail” project.
“Moreover, I am firmly convinced that the continuation of the Youth Employment Initiative is a crucial component in tackling youth unemployment efficiently, as this is one of the main concerns at European level, which puts at risk an entire generation of young Europeans. Empowering youth can also be done through initiatives like the ‘18th Birthday Interrail Pass for Europe’. I have introduced this initiative into the priorities for next year’s EU Budget to grant one month free Interrail tickets to all 18-year-old Europeans to discover the EU. This project has the potential to boost European consciousness and identity and to be a concrete response to Euroscepticism”, explained centre-right MEP Siegfried Mureșan.
When referring to the security area, the Chief negotiator of the EP for the annual budget of the EU for 2018 underscored that it needs to be approached on the Union’s internal plan, as well as on its external plan.
Siegfried Muresan said that on the internal security plan, the activity of European agencies in charge in the area must be strengthened, mentioning FRONTEX, EASO, EUROPOL, EUROJUST. Regarding internal security he also pointed out the necessity of existing some “pilot defence projects that were previously launched by the Commission.”
”It is my conviction that we cannot achieve these objectives if citizens and companies don’t feel safe in Europe. That’s why security is one of my priorities and why the internal and external aspects of security must be properly dealt with, through adequate budgetary support. Internally, we should do more to secure our borders, to enhance cooperation between Member States in the field, and to strengthen the agencies of the Union which have responsibilities in the Justice and home affairs area,” stated Muresan.
Externally, he added, “we need to ensure stability in our immediate neighbourhood, both in the East and the South. In the East, we have to do more to counter an increasingly aggressive Russia”.
He emphasized that support for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will be crucial “if we want these countries to advance towards the EU and become stable and prosperous democracies”.
“As regards the Southern Neighbourhood, we need to invest more in the countries of origin and transit of refugees and migrants. Statistics have shown that it is cheaper and more effective to help people in their country of origin or transit countries. I call on the Commission to put forward a Draft Budget that will enable the EU to continue generating prosperity and security for its citizens”, Siegfried Mureșan concluded.
The European Commission, represented to the debate by the Budget and Human Resources Commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, announced that the priorities underlined in the Muresan Report are converging with those of his.
“I read the Report and I read carefully the priorities it has established, and can say that until now, the Commission agrees with the priorities and expectations in this Report for budget year 2018” the European Commissioner said.
Photo credit: © European Union 2017