COFACE: The European Hunger Games – Who will actually benefit from the next EU budget?

On 2 May 2018, the European Commission published its proposal of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the years 2021 to 2027, together with a Communication on the main priorities of next EU Budget. The European Commission promises nothing less, but a ‘New, modern Multiannual Financial Framework for a European Union that delivers efficiently on its priorities post-2020’. Undoubtedly, the European Union is facing new political, economic and social challenges. Taking into account the effects of the forthcoming Brexit, digitalisation, the refugee crisis, the growing ageing population or the urgent need for transformative actions to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, heads of States in the EU are at a crossroads to decide what priorities the EU should invest in post-2020.

It is indeed time to reflect on what areas are worth the investment, or in other words, where EU money can have ‘added value’ and support initiatives that otherwise would/could not happen in and among the Member States. Whilst there may be need to invest taxpayers’ money in new priorities, such as security, or the integration of migrants, EU Member States should not forget about the existing needs of some of Europe’s most vulnerable citizens. Furthermore, the promotion of EU values and respect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is at the heart of EU added value. Therefore, EU funding should not support any action that goes against the rights and principles enshrined in the Treaties, the EU Charter for Fundamental Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is the first international human rights treaty the EU ratified.

It is still early for COFACE Families Europe to provide a detailed analysis of the proposed EU Budget, but this is a brief overview of the main principles we want to keep from the current budgetary period for Post-2020:
• Strengthening alignment/cooperation between funds
• ‘Ex-ante conditionalities’: Not the magic bullet, but key to ensure compliance with human rights
• EU Funds should never discriminate, or segregate citizens
• Being real partners is a prerequisite to become Ambassadors of the European Social Rights Pillar

On May 30 2018, the European Commission will publish a proposal for a Regulation on the Funding Instruments under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), including the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. These Funds are particularly relevant for COFACE, as they support families in disadvantaged, or vulnerable situations, persons with support needs, unemployed people, segregated communities, or services run by local civil society organisations, just to mention a few.

COFACE Families Europe will follow closely the upcoming negotiations in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the future EU Budget to safeguard adequate social investment for the social inclusion and well-being of all families in Europe.

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