MEPs must keep in mind of the consequences of budget cuts to the ESF

Tomorrow, March 13, the European Parliament is going to vote a Resolution on the decision made by Heads of State and Government on the EU budget in February (see Council conclusions). We already commented how this decision is not going to give the European Union the budget that is needed to face the current and future challenges: growing inequality, persisting poverty within Europe and beyond, the highest levels of unemployment, food insecurity, resource constraints, unsustainable growth, global competition, aging of the population, technological change and the transition towards a low-carbon economy (see our weekly update of 11/02/2013).

If this resolution is adopted tomorrow, the Parliament is going to put pressure on the Council to reaffirm its role and competences in the decision making processes concerning the EU budget. The resolution states that the Council’s decision does not reflect the priorities and concerns expressed by the Parliament, notably in its resolution of 23 October 2012.

Therefore the Parliament stresses its willingness to enter negotiations with the Council on all provisions of the MFF regulation and the Interinstitutional Agreement and that it will only vote on these two pieces of legislation only after the conclusion of substantial negotiations with the Council.

Again the Parliament highlights the view that the EU budget 2014-2020 should ensure the successful implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy and give the EU the necessary means to recover from the crisis; to make this work, it is important to increase “investments in innovation, research and development, infrastructure and youth, meeting the EU’s climate change and energy objectives, improving education levels and promoting social inclusion, while fulfilling its international commitments”.

Social Platform sent a letter asking MEPS to support the social dimension of the EU budget, while considering the resolution. To give an example, we have considered the consequences of the Council’s decision on the ESF, which is the main EU financial instrument to boost employment and to fight against poverty and social exclusion.

According to the Council’s decision on the MFF, it is foreseen that €325.1 billion are available for the structural funds: this amount is approximately 8% less than the one allocated under the current period (€352.3 billion). These cuts are even more important as a new member state will join the EU and as these figures include two new instruments: a new Youth Employment initiative (€ 3 billion) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (€ 2.5 billion).

Therefore, we believe that it is more important than ever to keep the minimum share for the ESF (25% of the cohesion policy’s budget) to ensure adequate funding for the social and economic development of the EU.