The future of the European Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) must respond both to the priorities of the European Union and to the new challenges that cannot always be anticipated, First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said in Bucharest.
Obtaining an agreement among the member states and then between the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is an “extremely complicated operation,” Frans Timmermans told a joint news conference in Bucharest with the Romanian Minister for European Affairs, George Ciamba, after an informal meeting of the EU ministers and state secretaries for European Affairs hosted by Romania’s capital city.
“The future of the EU, including in view of the new Strategic Agenda of the Union was a point on the informal meeting agenda. The debates in Bucharest aim to provide an appropriate framework for a comprehensive reflection on the key priorities that should be reflected in defining the strategic vision of the Union for the next five years, starting with the results of the implementation of the Union’s Strategic Agenda in June 2014. The discussions in Bucharest are timely in view of the debates to be held at the informal summit that Romania will host in Sibiu on 9 May, in preparation for the adoption at the European Council in June 2019 of the fundamental lines of the future 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda of the Union”, the official website of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council informs.
“The MFF has always been very complicated, but it is now even more difficult, with one of our member states (…) a net contributor to the EU budget (UK) leaving the EU,” the EU official said.
“At the same time, you see all sorts of new challenges coming toward the European Union,” he said, adding that the complexity of the whole operation is “really quite a challenge to everyone in it, but “at the end of the day we will find a compromise, we will find a way forward, ” and that the meeting in Bucharest help clarify the position of the member states and the European institutions.
Timmermans also said that the process of selecting five main priorities five year years ago by the European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker was validated and worked very well.
He also said that, the process of identifying priorities has to be conducted “on the basis of where the European Union should be going,” and, at the same time, one has “to be ready to act when there are new challenges that reality throws at you.”
“The biggest challenge in the last years that was thrown at us that we had not anticipated in this dimension, was the migration challenge. We responded to that, I think, in a very adequate way.”
“If you devise a budget for the future for the multiannual financial framework for the future, you have to make sure you have the means to address your priorities, but you also have to make sure you have the flexibility to react to events, to react to new challenges that you perhaps cannot always foresee,” said Timmermans.
He called on the member states, especially those who “are a bit wary to come to terms with the need for flexibility”, to look at them again “in light of the challenges we have had to face in the last five years.”
“We have to prepare for Sibiu [a European Council meeting in Sibiu in May] and the discussion there on what the priorities will be for the future,” he said.
“This is still before the European elections, and then, of course, the European elections will have a strong effect on the choices we will make after that, because the new European Parliament will want to also state its case. (…) The new European Commission will depend on a majority in the European Parliament to get its proposals adopted. And also Council of Ministers representing the member states will depend on the EP as a co-legislator to make things happen after the elections, “added the European official.
“We are all preparing for a future that will be challenging, but also promising,” Timmermans also said, pointing out that the member states have to ‘make sure that the European Union is in a position both internally and externally to respond to the challenges, to use the opportunities, to make a success of the fourth industrial Revolution, to make sure you are prepared for a sustainable future, to make sure we are strong enough to face the challenges that Russia and China and other parts of the world throw at us.’
Ciamba: There is no budget without directions, one needs flexibility, priorities
One cannot establish a budget without clear directions, on Tuesday said Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba, bringing to mind in the context of the talks on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 – 2027 the need for flexibility in order to answer the current challenges and the need for priorities.
“One cannot establish a budget without directions, so I believe that in a way the discussion on the budget is on the agenda. We must see how the Union adjusts to the current challenges,” the Romanian official said.
Ciamba added that in the current context, the European Union needs “flexibility to answer the challenges of the present and needs priorities”.
On Tuesday is underway in Bucharest the informal meeting of the ministers and secretaries of state with the European Affairs, in the context of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. The talks’ agenda also includes the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 – 2027.
Romanian Minister-delegate for European Affairs: A lesson we should learn from crisis in Europe – EU gets out more united, more cohesive
The European Union always came out more united, more coherent after the crises it faced, Minister-delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba also stated on Tuesday at a joint press conference with First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, in the context in which Romania hosted the informal ministerial meeting of the EU ministers and secretaries of state for European Affairs.
On this occasion, Minister-delegate Ciamba talked about the recent challenges in Europe.
“One of the things that we should take as a lesson learned from both the migration crisis and the sovereign debt crisis is that Europe, always, find the ways and means to adjust itself. And I should say that, you know, we are not anymore in a migration crisis. Of course, migration is a political subject, but I think that Europe was able to overcome the migration crisis and the same could be said about how Europe went out of the sovereign debt crisis, because, you know, at that time, it looked very unexpected, there were things unexpected, we didn’t have the toolbox,” he stated.
George Ciamba underscored the need to improve the strategic agenda. “This is why we want to make the strategic agenda better, this is why we want to make the multifinancial financial framework better, because we have to be better equipped the next time when it’s going to come,” the Minister-delegate pointed out.
In this context, the Minister-delegate for European Affairs talked about unity. “I think unity is important, Brexit is proving that EU can be united and I think this is another lesson learned that should be taken from all the crisis of Europe – that Europe begins at the end of it gets out more united and more cohesive,” he added.
EC’s First Vice-President hopes House of Common members see European efforts to take into account British requests
First Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) Frans Timmermans voiced hope on Tuesday in Bucharest that the House of Commons members will see the European efforts and take into account the latest requests of the British Government and endorse a new agreement on Brexit between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU.
During the meeting on Monday evening in Strasbourg with PM Theresa May, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker made a huge effort in trying to take into account the latest requests of the British Government, but now, the House of Commons is to decided through its vote, Timmermans told a joint news conference with Minister-delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba, after an informal meeting of ministers and secretaries of state for European Affairs of the EU.
The EC First Vice-President mentioned that the responsibility which felt over the past two years at the level of the European Commission was huge and what Mr Juncker did last evening, the attempt to avoid doing more harm is very important. He wishes for the members of the House of Commons to see this thing, voicing his hope that this agreement be the best result possible.
When asked if these efforts could not have been made to avoid the situation over the last period, Timmermans brought to mind that the previously obtained withdrawal agreement was an agreement with the support of the British Government and then rejected in the House of Commons, which wanted clarifications, especially regarding ‘backstop.’
The EC First Vice-President mentioned that the Commission work very hard to provide clarifications and he believes that Jean-Claud Juncker provided these clarifications and an agreement was reached. He brought to mind that there was an agreement reached with the British Government which was rejected in the House of Commons.
The high official hopes for these clarifications and improvements on the backstop topic to ensure a majority in the House of Commons, adding that the view of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is needed, as well as that of the House of Commons, because the ball is in the House of Commons’s field.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Monday evening that he obtained from the EU legally binding assurances regarding Brexit in a last attempt to attract rebel parliamentarians who have threatened to reject the withdrawal agreement, will be put to the vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Ciamba on UK-EU agreement: Hope it’s decisive, we’re ready for both versions
Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba on Tuesday said he hopes the recent agreement between the UK and the EU is “decisive”, adding that the community bloc is ready for any scenario.
Ahead of the informal meeting of the European Affairs’ ministers and secretaries of state, he asserted that the final decision on Brexit will be made after the vote in the British Parliament.
“We still have to wait for the vote. I believe it is very important to see how the vote will go. Eventually, it is important to see to what extent this fact has changed the votes’ configuration in the British Parliament. We are ready for both versions. What is clear is that there is will on the EU behalf to make a compromise. (…) I hope this will be decisive,” Ciamba stated.
The Romanian official also talked about the worst case scenario as regards the Brexit.
“We keep our fingers crossed. It is a lose-lose situation, although I think that a disorderly exit is the worst case scenario, but which ever this scenario will be, I think we need more time than initially set. (…) I don’t think we should make assumptions regarding the vote. I think it would do more harm for any of us to tell the British Parliament how to vote,” Ciamba stressed.