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EU Budget

We have 20 years of experience in linking biodiversity to sustainability issues and 15 years of experience in the EU policy work, also linked to the EU funding. Here you can learn about what we are doing in relation to the EU Multiannual financial framework.

The Multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the European Union, also called the financial perspective, is a seven-year framework regulating its annual budget and how the EU Funds are spent.

The EU Multiannual financial framework

The 2014-2020 MFF was subject to long years of negotiations under the previous term of the European Parliament and European Commission, and it was adopted at the time of austerity, mainly focusing on economic growth. This was also the first time that the agreed overall expenditure limit experienced a decrease, while the expectations what it should deliver increased even higher in a post-crisis Europe.

During the negotiations environmental NGOs advocated for a green budget with a reformed Common Agricultural Policy and Fisheries Fund, a Structural and Cohesion Funds with key focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as on green infrastructure, and a LIFE Fund that makes up 1% of the overall budget. While the Fisheries Fund was reformed, and energy efficiency investments got more prominent in the Structural Funds, the MFF maintained its conservative approach to cohesion funds and missed the opportunities for structural changes and for shifting to sustainability in Europe (see our infographic) contradicting EU citizens needs and opinions.

However, an agreement was reached on a ‘revision clause’, which allows for a mid-term review/revision leading to new legislative proposals. This also provides the opportunity for the current EP and EC to leave their mark on the 2014-2020 MFF, while reflecting on the changed priorities and on the altered economic situation. While the current EC’s priorities on energy efficiency and energy infrastructure might further strengthen EU funding for these purposes, it is a question how much the revised MFF will ensure that EU money is spent for public good, and in particular will it ensure that it serves the maintenance of natural capital and the shift to a sustainable society.

Importantly, the 2016 review will also indirectly contribute to the negotiations on the next MFF. The EC is expected to table a proposal for this post 2020 MFF by the end of 2018.

In order to ensure that the MFF helps to build a sustainable society, a wide range of substantive, procedural and institutional instruments needs to be deplored in the policy and implementation cycle, which can ensure to make the MFF “sustainability proofed”.

CEEweb within SDG Watch Europe is working on a sustainability proofing methodology, which provides a structured process to incorporate sustainability principles into the planning and implementation cycles of the next MFF.