Published Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Greener or greyer: what's next for the future EU budget? 

The Special Summit on the 2014-2020 EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on 22 and 23 November 2012 did not facilitate an agreement among Heads of State and Government. Instead it marked another stage in the drama between net-paying and net-receiving Member States. This Policy Brief analyses the main points of friction to emerge, what is at stake and what comes next in the MFF negotiations, given a viewpoint that the future EU budget should deliver on the EU’s objectives for low-carbon, climate resilient and resource efficient development. 

Key messages
• The MFF negotiations should re-focus on the substance of expenditure plans, particularly identifying areas of outstanding EU ‘added value’
• This is the only meaningful way to inform an agreement on where to concentrate or cut back particular funds
• If further cuts are agreed, they should not come at the expense of environmental priorities
• The endorsement of the commitment to spend 20 per cent of the total MFF on climate action is very helpful but provisions for environmental / climate mainstreaming, better spending and policy coherence should be strengthened
• Considerably delaying the deal on the future MFF implies that future expenditure programmes will be developed under policy uncertainty and time pressure, thereby compromising their quality