The Commission wants a €66bn EU budget top-up. MEPs want €10bn more

The European Parliament, Strasbourg
The European Parliament, Strasbourg Copyright DAINA LE LARDIC/ European Union 2023 - Source : EP
By Mared Gwyn Jones
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The European Parliament called on Tuesday on the European Union to urgently top up its long-term budget by €10 billion more than the proposal currently on the table to respond to unforeseen crises.


The €10 billion requested by MEPs would complement the €65.8 billion top-up already proposed by the European Commission, and would be used to boost support to Ukraine, promote EU competitiveness and tackle migration and natural disasters.

“The EU’s budget is stretched to its limits,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said. “We must acknowledge this and we have a duty to react.”

But increasing the budget is unpopular among some of the 27 EU member states, who would need to unanimously approve any budget revision. President Metsola will call on EU leaders to "jump start" the revision process when they meet in Granada later this week.

In the vote in Strasbourg on Tuesday, a large majority of EU lawmakers supported the €10 billion addition to the top-up, with 393 votes in favour, 136 and 92 abstentions.

The EU’s budget for 2021-2027, the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), has come under immense budget due to the unforeseen challenges of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Higher borrowing costs for recovery instruments have also put the budget under further pressure. “We must repay our debts: the EU’s financial credibility is on the line,” Metsola said.

Providing financial support to Ukraine as it withstands Russia's aggression is the main motive for the budget increase. The Commission's existing €65.8 billion top-up proposal includes €50 billion in grants and loans to support Ukraine over the long term.

It also earmarks €2 billion to boost migration controls, €10.5 billion to address "heightened economic and geopolitical instabilities", and €2.5 million to react to crises natural disasters.

The bloc is also facing fierce international competition in the race to modernise its economy. Of the proposed €10 billion proposed by the parliament, €3 billion would fund a new platform for strategic technologies for Europe (STEP), to invest in digital, clean and bio technologies for the bloc.

The parliament wants an additional €5 billion to be earmarked to enhance the EU's ability to respond to unforeseen crises, including natural disasters. 

"A country that faces a natural disaster towards the end of the year cannot be told there is no money left," Metsola explained.

Negotiations for the 2024 budget, which need to be concluded by the end of the year, could be used to “put pressure” on member states to green light a bigger long-term envelope, according to Polish MEP Jan Olbrycht, the Parliament’s rapporteur on the revision.

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