After long marathon negotiations, the European Summit of 7 and 8 of February finally agreed on the EU financial plan for 2014-2020. As typical in these situations, each member state, once back home, claims victory and presents some political accomplishments in order to respond to the wishes of the voters, traditionally reluctant to accept European policies.
However, for the first time in European
history, due to the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, the Parliament has its say in the upcoming
budget and there might be substantial changes in the final text. The Parliament
is traditionally more pro-European than the Council, and it is likely that some
pressure will be exerted to strengthen the budget’s “federal” dimension. The
four major political groups at the European Parliament have already stated that they
would reject the current proposal as it is written right now: “we will reject
it for sure” said Martin Schulz a week ago in Berlin.
This is perhaps the only good news of the budget that reflects the current state of art in Europe: austerity and euroscepticism.
The text agreed, represents the first ever cut in the EU budget, around 3% compared to the previous multiannual framework. This is particular dramatic when many European countries, like Spain and Portugal, are falling into the economic and social abyss. To further European integration, which means increasing budgetary capacity, could be the much-needed boost to promote development at a local and national level and constitute an important step out of the crisis.
Whether the EU budget should be cut or not, particularly while member states are doing so is the central key of today’s European debate. Although Hollande’s victory in France has brought up a new rhetoric, it will be up to the Germans in their federal elections due in September to decide our near European future.