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    Juncker urges EU States to decide fast on budget

    © Belga
    © Belga

    European Union (EU) Member States no longer have a huge amount of time to decide on the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, stressing that they must do so before the 2019 European elections. The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) sets the contributions of each Member State and determines which projects will be financed over a seven-year period. The next MFF goes from 2021 to 2027.

    Each MFF is the result of intensive negotiations between Member States and European institutions, and the prospect of Britain’s exit from the EU in 2019 could make matters even more complicated. Britain is a net contributor to the EU budget and the remaining 27 Member States will have to choose between increasing their financial participation and cutting back on the programmes financed.

    Highlighting the urgency of the matter, Juncker said States should not believe the Council had oceans of time ahead of it. He stressed the need to decide quickly, saying that all decisions on the matter needed to be taken before the next European elections.

    Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger added, for his part, that the MFF had to be given priority in the European Parliament and the European Council. If there is no agreement on the Framework, the big winners will be Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, he said.

    Juncker promised that the Commission would present its position on the issue in early May rather than in late May to speed up the discussions.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times