When announcing the new EU financial resource proposals on Wednesday, EU Budget and Administration Commissioner Johannes Hahn stressed that they were not only new but also historic.
“The last time that own resources for the institutions were officially proposed was the year I was born, it’s no secret, it was 1957”, revealed the Austrian commissioner.
Not much happened after that, and even the assertion that followed 15 years later didn’t lead to their introduction, Hahn said, with tariffs, farm levies and a percentage adjusted annually by the harmonized VAT base, plus Member States’ contributions based on their GDP. – always contentious and subject to intense quarrels in Council – combine to constitute the Community budget.
It took another 15 years for the Parliament’s co-rapporteur on own resources, ValÃ©rie Hayer (FR, Renew), for the sentence “it took a long time to come” to be undoubtedly appropriate, and the qualification of historic breakthrough is needed.
“This is a big step forward for social and fiscal justice. We can now negotiate on these own resources to make it a reality, because we support them all.”
Like all MEPs who commented on the Commission’s announcement, Hayer welcomed the proposals, telling Parliament’s magazine, “This is a big step forward for social and fiscal justice. We can now negotiate on these resources. own to make it a reality because we all support them. “
However, when Commissioner Hahn asserted that the three proposed elements of the âfirst pillarâ – revenues from the Emissions Trading System (ETS), the proposed Carbon Frontier Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the proposed minimum corporate tax – should “be generating on average a total of up to 17 billion euros per year”, Hayer’s initial calculation was more conservative.
“The package as presented does not yet reach 15 billion euros. We will negotiate to increase the share of the EU budget,” Hayer told Parliament magazine.
What caused the breakthrough in own resources was, of course, the introduction of the unprecedented loan program to achieve economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RRF) that the new income is supposed to pay back.
The S&D group posted a Twitter thread on Wednesday highlighting their concerns: âTo fully refinance the cost of the stimulus package, we also need a proposal that will include a financial transaction tax. [FTT] and an own resource linked to the business sector. Big business and financial investors must help the EU economy recover! “
the @EU_Commission proposal on #OwnResources because the ðªðºbudget is a good start, but it’s not Christmas ð – we are sure of that.
We need enough ð¶ to give citizens the necessary social, green & digital transition. pic.twitter.com/Vk9GlYLbFw
– S&D Group (@TheProgressives) 22 December 2021
For his part, Commissioner Hahn said at his press conference that a second set of proposals, where an FTT would possibly be included, was being developed.
EPP Group Vice-President Esther de Lange (NL) highlighted a priority for her group on Twitter: a general contribution to the EU budget.
.@EU_Commission has just published its new own resources proposals. For the @EPPGroup it is clear: the money generated by the new ETS for construction and transport should be fully used to help EU citizens in the green transition and not as a general contribution to the EU budget. https://t.co/i3CD7qMEV4
– Esther de Lange (@Esther_de_Lange) 22 December 2021
What all lawmakers agree is that the ball is now in the Council’s court and Member States must act without delay. In a joint press release from the Parliament’s Committee on Budgets (BUDG) on Wednesday, the two rapporteurs, Hayer and JosÃ© Manuel Fernandes (PT, EPP), said: âWe call on all EU capitals to recognize our responsibility common: repay the debt and stop narrowly by focusing on national budgets or on each individual own resource in isolation. “
Advocating a common good approach, they added that “governments should instead consider the political and economic merits and the distributive implications of the package as a whole”.
The two rapporteurs also underlined that the Council should vote by July 2022, “as mentioned in the legally binding roadmap towards the introduction of new own resources”.
For the Verts / ALE group, the member of the BUDG committee and new head of the German Greens delegation, Rasmus Andresen, commented – also welcoming the Commission’s proposals for letterbox companies presented on the same day:
âNow it is up to the Member States to decide whether they are ready to do what is necessary and support more European own resources. [for] measures such as those against letterbox companies.
An vielen Stellen gibt es zwar SchlufplÃ¶cher, aber der Rahmen wird gesetzt. Jetzt liegt es an den Mitgliedstaaten, ob Sie bereit dazu sind das NÃ¶tige zu tun und mehr europÃ¤ische Eigenmittel wie MaÃnahmen gegen Briefkastenfirmen zu unterstÃ¼tzen.
– Rasmus Andresen ï¸âð (@RasmusAndresen) 22 December 2021
From the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, veteran lawmaker Markus Ferber (DE, PPE) commented in a press release:
“Member States must now deal seriously and quickly with the Commission’s proposals. If the Council postpones the debate on own resources to the last possible day, we will not even need to talk about new spending programs.”
Council President Charles Michel, making particular reference to the proposed minimum corporate tax, as approved in principle by the OECD and the G20 this summer, said: âThe EU is leading by example. Today’s @EU_Commission proposal is a major step towards the implementation of the @OECD global agreement on minimum effective taxation. It is an important step towards a more just world.
The EU is leading by example.
It is an important step towards a more just world.
– Charles Michel (@eucopresident) 22 December 2021
MEPs will first start taking a closer look at the proposals in the BUDG committee, debating with the Commission at a meeting scheduled for January 13.