Croatia's EU presidency extremely important for reaching agreement on MFF

The coming months are crucial for reaching an agreement on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, which is why Croatia's presidency over the Council of the European Union is of utmost importance, it was said on Monday after the meeting of representative of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgets (BUDG) and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

Finance Minister Zdravko Mamic said after the meeting in Government House that the biggest focus of Croatia's presidency, apart from the four priorities, was the process of the multiannual financial framework (MFF).

He underscores that the main part of the job is in the hands of the European Council and its president Charles Michel, who is in charge of reaching a compromise on the MFF, and who, with the aim of continuing the dialogue, convened an extraordinary summit with heads of state and governments for 20 February.

Regardless of the outcome of that or any other meeting, Croatia as the country presiding over the Council of the EU is ready to continue the dialogue with both the European Commission and the European Parliament, says Maric.

Once we have the political or negotiating framework, there are a whole series of sectoral proposals, more precisely 45 of them, which are part of the whole package and an integral part of our dialogue, adds the Finance Minister. He also praised the information exchange with the BUDG.

"The entire team behind Croatia's presidency is ready to continue talks and in the end we all hope for the successful completion of the work ahead of us," said Maric, pointing out that reaching a compromise is considered as a success.

"We will see how good and quality the compromise will be, however, all us will consider it a success to finish the process within this year and to have a fully functioning MFF so that we can go to the next stages, which are yearly budgets," said the minister.

He also said that the idea and the intent was to make a budgetary framework that would be both realistic and efficient enough to meet all the needs and priorities of the EU and its citizens.

Chairman of the BUDG, Johan Van Overtveldt of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group said after his meeting with Maric that the coming weeks and months would be crucial as this was the time framework for reaching an agreement on the MFF for the 2021-2027 period.

It is also therefore that the Croatian presidency is of the utmost importance, said this member of the European parliament who is also the head of the negotiating team for the new MFF.

As for Brexit, Overtveldt said that this was also a complex and important issue in the negotiations about the new MFF considering the fact that Great Britain was a net contributor to the EU budget and its exit means less money in the bloc's purse.

In the coming period, constructive solutions must be found so as to adequately respond to that aspect of Brexit with the European budget serving citizens of the EU in a satisfactory manner.

Considering the negotiations on the MFF, there are four positions which should be brought closer.

The Commission has proposed a budget equivalent to around 1.11% of the gross national income (GNI) of the future Union of 27 Member States.

Member-states that are net contributors insist on 1 percent of GNI, whereas the 17 countries in the informal group called Friends of Cohesion, which are net recipients, propose that the outlays for agriculture and cohesion should be kept at the same level, the maintenance of the current shares of the national payments in the EU co-funded projects and the maintenance of the current duration for the implementation of such projects.

The European Parliament adopted a position on the MFF in November 2018 which reads that 1.3% of GNI should serve as an equivalent for the budget, so that all the promises can be delivered regarding fighting climate change, research and innovation programmes, regional policy and social rights.

Text: Hina

News | Plenkovic Andrej