The Council has come under criticism from GUE/NGL MEPs today for increasing funds to boost security and defence at the expense of cohesion programmes and other policy areas. However, funding for humanitarian aid has gone up.

Such plans were unveiled as the Council revealed its position on the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020. Other expected increases have failed to materialise – with the allocation for youth employment being 1.2 billion euros, a figure below the Parliament's expectations and ILO (International Labour Organization) recommendations.

Outlining her criticisms of the proposals, GUE/NGL Coordinator on the European Parliament’s Budgets Committee (BUDG) Liadh Ní Riada said:

“There is no real fresh money being added. The Council speaks of 6 billion euros’ worth of fresh money for outstanding priorities for 2017 to 2020. However, they conveniently forget to mention the impact which the approval of amending budgets number four and five will have.” 

“This will effectively decrease by 7.4 billion euros the contributions of the EU member states towards the 2017 Budget,” she added. 

“This is a really bad decision and inevitably, it will lead to a bad outcome. We only have to look at the failure of the Juncker Plan, which was touted as being the saviour of the EU, to realise that the Council clearly lacks the vision, responsibility and solidarity with the people.”

“Ireland – a country committed to neutrality – cannot support the European defence structure proposal at the expense of our citizens. We need flexibility but we need to be smart about where our priorities lie. We have a duty of care for our most impoverished people and we need real investment,” Ní Riada reasoned.  

Meanwhile, Spanish MEP Xabier Benito Ziluaga described the revised proposals as a lost opportunity:

“We had a very weak starting point with this revision – an MFF that is not suited to the urgent needs of the current situation. Yet nothing has been done to change that with no additional funds being allocated in response to the ongoing social crisis.”

“Instead, the Commission decided to increase support for border outsourcing to Turkey which is in violation of international refugee law. We may indeed live in an exceptional period of time but we have some very stingy accountants in charge,” Benito added.   

The MEP also highlighted the crucial missing elements in the MFF review: 

“If the challenge is to have a budgetary framework for the European Union that responds to the needs of the people, they are going in the opposite direction.”

“We need a 180-degree turn in budgetary policy that enables us, on the one hand, to address our humanitarian and social emergencies and, on the other, to change our productive model to deal with climate change,” argued the Spanish MEP.

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