The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament believe the proposal for the EU budget 2024, presented today by the European Commission, clearly shows there is not enough money for the growing needs of our citizens and the economy. The S&D Group is worried that there are almost no margins left within the annual budget for next year to finance our priorities and reply to the immense needs both within our Union and at our borders. This means less flexibility compared to previous years. The only viable solution, say the Socialists and Democrats, is a fundamental revision of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the current period 2021-2027. In this regard, the S&D Group expects a bold proposal from the European Commission in the next couple of weeks for such a revision.
Rovana Plumb MEP, vice-president of the S&D Group for budgetary matters, said:
“Our Group is worried by what the Commission has put on the table today as a draft EU budget for 2024. It is just not enough and we have already stretched the existing funds to their limits. More and new challenges arise every day and we need money to act. All strategies and policies remain simple words and will never turn into actions with tangible results if we don’t provide the necessary funding. This would be a disaster for the European project in 2024 – the year of the next European elections and in times of rising right-wing populism and euroscepticism.
“When it comes to 2024, there is a long list of priorities we have to address with the annual EU budget. Among them is a clear focus on small and medium enterprises through the Single Market Programme, as they are the backbone of our economy. Another priority concerns our young generations – we are convinced funding for clear success stories like Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps should take into account the impact of rising participation costs, including inflation. Going on a university exchange should be an opportunity accessible to every student, not just rich ones.
“The terrible war in Ukraine continues, and it has a serious impact on the security of energy supplies and the price of electricity for businesses and households. It is therefore of key importance to be able to fund next year’s projects which boost the interconnection of energy infrastructure in the EU.
“No one can deny the migratory pressure on our external borders. However, our Group is convinced our Union cannot and must not turn into ‘Fortress Europe’. We will not agree with any conservative ideas for funding the construction of walls and fences on EU external borders with money from the EU budget for 2024. Instead, we call for rapid implementation of the EU Migration and Asylum Pact and tangible support to our neighbours like Moldova and the Western Balkans, who firmly walk the European path.”