Minister of State Link on the new EU budget: “better spending” rather than constantly increasing expenditure

03.07.2013 - Press release

The European Parliament in Strasbourg today (3 July) approved the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014 to 2020. Michael Georg Link, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, which was Germany’s lead Ministry in the negotiations, issued the following statement:

“Today’s important decision by the European Parliament gives us a solid basis on which to plan investment and expenditure of almost a trillion euros over the coming seven years. The fact that agreement was reached shows that Europe is capable of action. This is an important signal of unity for the people of Europe. We are living up to our responsibility, showing solidarity in tackling the crisis. The additional six billion euros earmarked in the budget for combating youth unemployment enable us to tackle one of our continent’s most pressing social problems.

Germany advocated a modern, forward-looking budget. At a time when member states are having to make painful cuts, this means restricting EU expenditure as well. For the first time, there will be no increase in the European budget. At the same time, it will become easier to divert unused or improperly used funds. As the biggest contributor, Germany has a massive interest here. Our concept of ”better spending“ is in keeping with the basic principle that taxpayers’ money must always be spent sensibly and wisely.
Another successful outcome of the negotiations is the fact that Germany’s new federal states will continue to receive targeted support in order to complete the reconstruction of eastern Germany.

It is also gratifying that the damaging idea of a new EU tax did not go through. We have therefore saved Europe’s citizens from having to bear new burdens.
Our aim was not to spend more, but to use the available funds more wisely. We showed we had the courage to set new priorities and divert funds. Funding for competitiveness and research will increase by more than 37%, whilst the agriculture budget was cut by over 10%.

The EU’s budget for the period up to 2020 enables us to provide rapid but nonetheless effective impetus for growth and employment. The German Government is therefore pushing hard for early agreement on the 70 or so we need so separate Regulations that individual spending programmes can indeed actually be launched on 1 January 2014.”

Additional background information:

This agreement marks the end of more than two years of negotiations in which the Federal Foreign Office was lead ministry for Germany.

One of the German Government’s key objectives was to anchor the idea of “better spending” effectively in the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework. One way of doing this is through the comprehensive macroeconomic conditionalities which create a direct link between the new economic policy monitoring instruments and EU expenditure in the member states.

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