On 7 March 2017, the Council agreed to adjust the EU's multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 to bring it in line with new priorities. The agreed changes reinforce the EU's support for tackling the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs. They will allow the EU to respond more easily to unexpected needs without changing the MFF expenditure ceilings. And they will help to avoid an excessive backlog of unpaid bills.
"This first-ever revision of the multi-annual budgetary framework will ensure that the EU budget is even more effective in tackling current challenges and responding to unexpected needs. It also avoids undue pressure on member states' national budgets at a time of continuing efforts to consolidate public finances. The Maltese presidency, building on the work of the Slovak presidency, has worked very hard to unblock the deadlock of last year and we are very satisfied that an agreement could be reached today”.
Louis Grech, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and President of the Council
More money for main priorities
The revised MFF will provide a reinforcement of €6.01 billion for the main priorities over the years 2017 to 2020. €2.55 billion will be available to address migration, reinforce security and strengthen external border control. €1.39 billion will stand ready for tackling the root causes of migration, and €2.08 billion will help stimulate growth and create jobs through a number of highly effective programmes such as the youth employment initiative (+€1.2 billion), Horizon 2020 (+€200 million), and Erasmus+ (+€100 million).
More flexibility to meet unforeseen needs
The revised MFF also improves the EU's capacity to respond more quickly to unexpected needs. To this end, the amounts for the emergency aid reserve and the flexibility instrument will be increased (by an average of €23 million and €145 million per year respectively) for the years 2017 -2020. It will also become possible to transfer unused amounts from one special instrument to another: amounts equivalent to the resources remaining unused under the European globalisation adjustment fund and the EU's solidarity fund will be made available under the flexibility instrument.
Avoiding a backlog of unpaid bills
To counter the risk of an excessive backlog of unpaid bills the scope for recycling unused payments from one year to the following years is increased. The Council also undertook to take any steps needed to avoid the excessive accumulation of unpaid bills.
The MFF regulation sets out annual maximum amounts which the EU is allowed to spend on different policy areas over the period from 2014 to 2020. It translates political priorities into figures, ensures budgetary discipline for the EU and facilitates the adoption of the annual EU budget.
The revised MFF regulation still needs the consent of the European Parliament before it can be adopted by unanimity by the Council.