The priorities for 2023’s EU budget, according to MEPs, should be the economic recovery, health, youth and climate action, and dealing with the impact of the invasion of Ukraine.
The resolution adopted by Parliament on Tuesday calls for a “future-oriented budget that matches the Union’s political priorities of ensuring a stronger Health Union, making a success of the green and digital transitions, and fostering a fair, inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery, including increased support for small and medium-sized enterprises.”
With 463 votes to 71 and 97 abstentions, MEPs demand investment for the promotion of the rule of law, EU values and fundamental rights. They also want funding for the creation of greater opportunities for all, and in particular young people, and to ensure the EU is a stronger foreign policy actor.
Boosting the EU economy, health programmes, and supporting the young
MEPs note that despite the encouraging signals of further growth in 2022, “uncertainty in the economic outlook persists, in the light of factors such as supply chain disruption, high energy prices, rising inflation and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine”. The 2023 EU budget will therefore “play an important role in strengthening the Union’s economy.”
The resolution says the COVID-19 crisis has put public health systems “under unprecedented stress and has exacerbated existing challenges”, while also causing “a severe negative impact on young people, their employment prospects, working conditions and mental health”. MEPs welcome the priority given to the EU’s health policy, and they call for additional resources, and a “focus on youth, building on the momentum of the 2022 European Year of Youth with concrete actions and policies”.
Making a success of the green and digital transitions
Implementing the Green Deal and achieving climate neutrality by 2050, as well as the zero pollution ambition will, according to MEPs, “require significant public and private investments to bridge the green transition investment gap and achieve the binding objectives of the Paris Agreement.” The resolution also says “that the cost of inaction would be much higher” and emphasises the need for “ambitious resources to support climate and biodiversity action, and environmental protection”.
Promoting the rule of law, EU values, fundamental rights and their application
To ensure the proper use of EU funds and the protection of the Union’s financial interests, Parliament insists the Rule of Law conditionality mechanism should be applied “immediately and in full”. Concerned about the “significant deterioration of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights (...) in some member states”, MEPs also call for an “ambitious level of resources” for the “Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme” or the “Justice programme”.
Invasion of Ukraine
MEPs condemn “the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine” by Russia and urge the EU to “guarantee significant funding to address its geopolitical consequences, including support for welcoming refugees”. The Commission and the member states should “mobilise all available financial means to support Ukraine”, they conclude.
Rapporteur Nicolae Ştefănuță (RENEW, RO): "The war in Ukraine changed the current outlook from the last year of the pandemic to the first year of war. The EU budget is constrained by the seven-year financial framework that sets its limits. This should be reviewed so that we have robust EU programmes. The EU must come up with ambitious financial support to help Member States and countries hosting refugees and to alleviate the consequences of the war on energy, agriculture, economy, and security. This will be my role, to make sure that the EU will support citizens and the Member States that need help the most."
The Commission is expected to present its proposal for the 2023 budget in June 2022, which will have to be agreed between the Council and the Parliament by the end of this year.
The budget guidelines are the first document produced by Parliament during the annual budget procedure. It sets out the line it expects the Commission to take when drawing up the budget proposal.
Well over 90% of the EU budget goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers and businesses.