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Preparing for a European Union after 2013

Submitted by on 30 Nov 2010 – 15:15

By Jutta Haug MEP

The next decade will be decisive for shaping the European Union of the future and for safeguarding Europe’s success in the global world. A decision on the key delivery instruments to reach the ambitious goals for Europe 2020, and beyond, is imminent, the alignment of these new political objectives with the future spending priorities the logical – and essential – next step.

The European Parliament is preparing its input for this decisive political debate with continuing a well-established practice of creating a special committee. As laid down in its mandate, the special committee on the policy challenges and budgetary resources for a sustainable European Union after 2013 (SURE) shall submit a report to Parliament before the Commission presents its proposal with figures for the next MFF for July 2010. Presenting its priorities and recommendations ahead of the Commission proposals is a novelty and challenge for the Parliament. But at the same time this procedure secures a maximum political impact by the European Parliament with its ambitious agenda.

Against the background of EU achievements, the added value through European Union activities is challenged by the European public.  But this concept must be the guiding principle of all actions, finally leading to an agreement on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). In this context it seems worth reminding that the general concept of European added value is laid down in the Lisbon Treaty as “the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.” A set of three instruments is available to create added value: coordination, legislation and financial means. In budgetary terms, expenditures on EU level can contribute to achieve policy targets which could also reduce the need for parallel national expenditure.

Knowing about its responsibility in this regard the special committee has decided to divide its work into several phases: the reflection phase, with a thorough discussion on horizontal issues until the end of this year, an assessment phase which will focus on sectoral issues, and a final phase devoted to the discussion of the report. In order to have the broadest possible picture on the future MFF the committee has started of its work with a thorough discussion on the concept of European added value reaching consensus that this concept is an evident partner of European integration.

The discussion on horizontal issues will also comprise debates on the implications of the EU 2020 strategy on the post-2013 Multiannual Financial Framework before concentrating on the so-called “technical issues” and crucial issues of the structure, flexibility and duration of the next MFF. Sectoral reflections will involve inter alia Cohesion policy, the reform of the agricultural policy and EU’s external commitments.

As the mandate of the special committee defines the timetable the special committee has planned to adopt its report in May 2011 with the final vote in plenary June 2011.
Finally, the committee needs to find an answer on what expectations do we have on the European Union, what policies are necessary to be implemented on European level to achieve the best added value for the financial means spent in the interest of our citizens.