Alfredo De Feo European pratictioner and researcher

The European Parliament is conducting its battle to approve the decision of the European Council of last July 2020, setting three conditions and maintaining its hard position, until now.

Since the ‘70ies the EP has used the budget to expand its influence and powers. The budgetary battles conducted for many decades have contributed to the increase of competences of the EP. In these battles, sometimes EP gained principles, other times political recognition, or supplementary resources.

The request to increase the 15 EU flagships and defend the Rules of Law principles is more than legitimate and probably reflects feelings of part of the European public opinion. This position would have been totally understandable up to February 2020, in reaction to the Finnish and European Council President proposals of compromises.

Since March 2020, the world has changed dramatically, this change was perceived by the Commission on May 18th , and surprisingly by the European Council on July 21st . The decision of the European Council of July 2020 is one of the most important in the last decades and comparable to the launch of the Single Market.

The approval by the European Council of the structure of the Next Generation EU fund is a major step toward the European integration, even with some limitations. One of the motivations to justify the decision has been the urgency of the moment. We all know that the approval of the European Parliament is not the end of the procedure but only the beginning of a procedure which will involve the 27 National Parliaments. Delaying this procedure is putting in danger the whole mechanism.

The three conditions raised by the EP are serious and important but are part of a bigger picture that is even more important. European Citizens will regain hope in the European project if they can see the effects of the decision taken by the European Council last July.

The European Parliament, in the first year of its mandate, needs to show its relevance among the European Institutions, but delaying or blocking the approval of the MFF & NGEU might have a negative effect on its image.

EP should show its relevance:

  • On the budgetary issues, making a good use of the flexibility to increase or decrease (10%), the EU programs in the annual budgets.
  • On the legislative issues, reinforcing its monitoring role on the transposition of EU legislation into National law and on the implementation of the programs.

Through these activities the EP could concentrate resources on the programs with higher European added value.

The European Parliament is playing a dangerous game, even if it is likely that the EP strategy will change if it obtains some concessions by the Council.

European public opinion expects that EU Institutions deliver the MFF 2021-2027 and the NGEU as soon as possible.

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