The European Parliament has this afternoon agreed its response to the EU recovery programme, with huge support across political groups for a strong EU led response. Ireland’s Green MEPs have welcomed the vote, which has reaffirmed the need for the current economic crisis to be tackled with strong European action and a focus on increasing resilience.
In an emergency plenary session following the agreement reached at the European Council summit of 17-21 July, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it set out its position on changes to the Covid-19 recovery fund and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s 7-year budget. Negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission will resume in September to find agreement on the budget before it is due to come into effect in January 2021.
The Parliament was clear in its view that the reduction in the overall size of the EU budget and in the proportion of grants to loans in the recovery fund will harm the EU’s objectives, including implementation of the European Green Deal. It was also clear that strong conditionality on upholding the rule of law and a legally-binding climate-related spending target need to be essential elements of the next funding period.
Green Party MEP for Dublin Ciarán Cuffe said: ‘’I’m pleased that a huge majority of MEPs from different groups united in sending a strong signal to Member State governments before negotiations resume in the autumn on the budget. While the agreement reached by governments this week is historic, it falls far short of what is needed if we are to ensure that we tackle climate change, fight the democratic backsliding happening in certain Member States, and invest in green jobs, research and health.The focus on rule of law is a crucial as democracy is challenged by political leaders such as Viktor Orbán in Hungary.’’
‘’We can’t let national interests trump the common interest at this critical juncture – the 7-year budget is a huge opportunity to set the EU on the right path to a more sustainable and socially just future and it is now up to the European Parliament to ensure that the Council ramps up its ambition.’’
Ireland South’s Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan focused on the need for resilience in a changing world – “While the agreement on a joint EU response earlier this week was indeed a historic moment, and a turn away from the austerity that defined the response to the previous economic crisis, this recovery fund should be delivering considerably more when it comes to increasing the resilience of our societies and economies.
The Parliament previously considerably increased money for aspects like the Just Transition, funds that would have helped facilitate equitable and sustainable change in regions that need it most. The EU needs to deliver on its promise of climate action now, and ensure we come out of this crisis stronger and more united than before.
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