The members of the largest and most influential parliament group – the European People’s Party (EPP) Political Assembly – have adopted their vision of the post-Brexit Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

An EPP Expert Group working on the MFF submitted their contributions to the structure of the future EU budget, after thorough consultations with EPP representatives in all EU institutions, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Council, and the national parties that are members of the EPP.

Brexit will, however, clearly lead to a decrease in the EU budget, leading all institutions to rethink their priorities, even though the core values of the EPP remain.

“Boosting competitiveness in a sustainable way, protecting the vulnerable, strengthening EU security and defence and stabilise our immediate neighbourhood. Brexit will impact the shape of the EU’s budget, but it will not change its course nor priorities,” said the EPP president Joseph Daul on the sidelines of the conservative party’s Political Assembly.

On the challenges of adapting of the EU budget to new realities, Daul underlined that this will not mean that the EPP will abandon ongoing policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy and the Cohesion Fund while having to procure new funding.

“Responsibility, efficiency, and flexibility must be the MFF guiding principles. The EPP will make each euro work towards a prosperous and secure Europe,” said Daul.

As EU institutions begin planning for the post-2020 budget, the EPP makes clear that the plan is to close the EU’s budget negotiations in the current legislature, before the 2019 European elections, while asking  the European Commission not to delay its proposal.

The EPP asks for a political debate on the priorities of the next MFF, as this is the only way the to discuss the allocation of funds. The party’s plan further calls for a comprehensive approach that is able to ensure enough resources for any potential challenges in all sectors and to ensure economic strength, solidarity, security, and defence, as well as a strong and global Europe with sustainability.

The EPP calls for maximum flexibility within instruments together with the necessary predictability and efficiency, suggesting that a 7-year MFF time span would benefit citizens and businesses.

The size of the funds agreed upon for the MFF should be fully used for its duration and mobilised within the annual budget procedures. On a member state level, the idea of linking the EU budget more strongly to the country-specific recommendations outlined under the economic governance principles should be considered as part of the objective supporting growth-enhancing structural reforms with the EU member states.

The EPP proposes that its implementation is carried out through positive incentives that include financial rewards when structural reforms are fully implemented; in the same manner as ESM bailout programme disbursements.

The European Parliament should, the EPP recommends,  immediately begin re-evaluating the legal bases of European policy areas to simplify EU policies, merely update them or, if necessary, maintain their current legal bases.