(05 February 2020) – Fifteen EU member states insisted on 1 February in Beja, south Portugal, that the EU budget for 2021-2027 should maintain the level of the previous one “in real terms”.
The countries reaffirmed their opposition to proposed cuts in the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, stressing the importance of cohesion policy to achieve economic and social convergence among EU member states.
“Cohesion policy funding for 2021-2027 should maintain the level of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework in real terms. No member state should suffer a sharp and disproportionate reduction in its cohesion budget,” reads the Joint Declaration signed by 15 of the 17 “Friends of Cohesion”: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
The Commission’s proposal is based on a budget commitment of €373 billion for cohesion and agricultural policy, a 10% reduction on the current budget due to the withdrawal of the UK, and a focus on new priorities such as fighting climate change, digital, defence and security.
Europe is divided into two camps: the net contributors who do not want to contribute more than 1% of Gross National Income (GNI) to the EU budget, and the “Friends of Cohesion”, who reject cuts in regional funds and the Common Agricultural Policy. (EurActiv / Lusa)