A Positive Agenda

The EU Budget as a Tool for Europe’s Challenges

21 November 2019

The discussions about the next EU long-term budget 2021-2027 are taking place at a historic junction. Europe is not only facing demographic challenges and instability in its hinterland; there are many other pressing issues that transcend national borders. However, this also creates opportunities to take a more positive agenda forward to achieve progress for Europe, for its citizens, and for resolving the Union’s challenges.

Europe’s next long-term budget, or MFF, which stands for Multiannual Financial Framework, is a powerful tool to enable this. The MFF is the EU’s spending plan, setting priorities based on policy objectives, generally spanning over seven years. It provides the structure within which annual EU budgets are set, defining spending parameters for each category of expenditure.

The ongoing negotiations should, therefore, be understood as a discussion about policy choices, expressed in budgetary resources. The next EU budget will focus on investing in areas where EU funding can be more effective than public spending at the national level – where it can bring real European added value.

A critical moment

The Commission proposed a seven-year budget of a total of 1,279 billion euros for the period 2021–2027. This represents around 1.11 per cent of the EU-27 gross national income (GNI), and as such is a very modest budget compared to the size of the European economy and to national budgets.

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Gert Jan Koopman

Director-General of DG Budget of the European Commission

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