According to the S&D Group, the EU should be able to reallocate unspent money to tackle crises like pandemics, or refugee flows due to conflicts in third countries. Yet, the new spending rules in the Financial Regulation, proposed by the European Commission, do not give the much needed flexibility for EU money to be used in cases of unforeseen circumstances, say the Socialists and Democrats. The S&D Group already made its ideas very clear at the end of last year when the European Parliament voted its report with the elements it found crucial to be included in the legislative proposal of the European Commission.
Nils Ušakovs, S&D MEP and EP negotiator on the issue in the EP’s committee on budgets, said:
“Unfortunately, the European Commission’s proposal falls far below expectations. The new procedures on how we spend the EU budget should reflect the reality around us. We have a new plurennial European budget, we have the Next Generation EU instrument, and we talk so much about the rule of law as an absolute prerequisite to get EU money. Yet, the content of the proposal for a new Financial Regulation is very far from all of these debates, as if we never discussed it in detail with the European Commission. Where is the respect for social and labour standards? Where is the social conditionality in a world where the EU is a champion in defending workers’ rights? It is such a shame to miss this opportunity to update our single rulebook to keep up with the times and increase the democratic legitimacy of the Union as a whole. Therefore, we strongly urge the European Commission to reconsider its ideas and make a new proposal that reflects the reality and the role the European Parliament must have.”
Claudiu Manda, MEP and S&D negotiator on the issue in the EP’s committee on budgetary control, said:
“The nature of the European Parliament and its committee on budgetary control means we, elected by our citizens, exercise control over how EU money is spent. This is democracy and this makes us different from other parts of the world where people are fighting for democracy. How do we make sure the EU budget is spent properly if the rules and procedures for this, as proposed by the European Commission, do not include the European Parliament in its legitimate role? Our group would like to believe this is just a bad example of a bureaucratic approach by the Commission to a very important issue, especially after so many messages we sent with EP reports, hearings and debates.”