Speech by President David Sassoli MEP to Special European Council Meeting


EP President David Sassoli MEP speaking to European Council. 20/02/20
EP President David Sassoli MEP speaking to European Council. 20/02/20

During his address at the extraordinary meeting of the European Council on the EU’s new long-term budget, President David Sassoli stressed that the European Parliament was prepared to reject any agreement that did not give the EU the means to address the many challenges it faces.

Before giving the address, the President expressed his solidarity with the victims and families of the horrific racist attack last night in Hanau, Germany.

On the next long-term budget of the EU, President Sassoli said:
 

“We have great respect for the role of the Council and today is the moment for them to discuss, reflect and reach a common position.

However, I stressed to leaders that the European Parliament will not just accept any agreement.

There is a very large majority ready to reject any proposal on the MFF that does not take account of Parliament’s positions.

“Our calculations are based on the needs of the Union, on the commitments made by the new Commission and by the strategic agenda of the Council.

Without the necessary resources, the Green Deal, the digital transition and geopolitical Europe, will just be empty slogans.

“We must equip the Union with all the means necessary to address the challenges that we face together.

The first and most urgent is climate change.

The Green Deal offers an ambitious plan for Europe to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

Achieving this will require a major financial effort.

We need resources to boost growth and development, and to support countries, businesses, and people through this transition.

We also need to invest in research to ensure Europe is at the forefront and does not need to rely on importing new technologies to whose development it has not contributed.

“For the European Parliament, the proposed cuts on agriculture and cohesion are unacceptable.

How can we shorten the distances between the center and the periphery, if we reduce the funds for cohesion, or how can we develop a green Europe if we do not invest in agriculture?

“It is in everyone's interest to break the artificial dichotomy between net contributors and beneficiaries: all Member States, without exception, profit from the EU.

All receive great benefits from the European budget and even more from the single market.

“Parliament strongly supports a new conditionality mechanism capable of protecting the EU budget when the rule of law or other core EU values are systemically violated in a member state.

“I want to thank President Michel for his attention to the issue of own and permanent resources.

For the first time in more than 40 years, new categories of revenue could finally be introduced.

The proposals need to be expanded and a reasonable timetable for their implementation is essential but we at least see a step in the right direction that Parliament has long called for.”

 

Read the full speech here

 

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