Slovenian Prime Minister and President of the European Council Charles Michel on the future EU budget
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Marjan Šarec, met today with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in Brussels. The discussion focused on the negotiations regarding the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework for the 2021-2027 period. Over the past week President Michel has been holding bilateral talks with the EU-27 Heads of State and Government, on the basis of which a compromise agreement should be reached on the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework for the 2021-2027 period. To this end, a special European Council meeting will be held on 20 February 2020.
In their discussion, Prime Minister Šarec underlined that a strong European Union needed an ambitious and future-oriented budget. Therefore, it is crucial to have sufficient cohesion policy funding to allow for the balanced development of Member States and their regions. Drastic reductions in cohesion funds are not acceptable for Member States or regions.
He particularly drew attention to Slovenia's key priorities and expectations in the negotiations on the EU's multiannual financial framework 2021-2027. These include the provision of sufficient cohesion funds for Slovenia, along with the need to adequately address the issue of using recent statistics on the development of countries and regions, which was the result of delays in the negotiations. Slovenia expects a solution to the projected excessive reduction in cohesion funds for Western Slovenia. It also calls for increasing the funds for rural development where the European Commission proposed excessive cuts.
Prime Minister Marjan Šarec also drew the attention of President of the European Council Charles Michel to the Joint Declaration adopted by the representatives of the Friends of Cohesion group at the end of the week in Portugal, which called for an ambitious, balanced and fair agreement on the EU multiannual financial framework for the next seven-year period. They also expressed clear opposition to the decrease in the funding for the cohesion policy. They particularly emphasised that no Member State should suffer a sharp and disproportional decrease in its cohesion fund allocation.
Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and President of the European Council Charles Michel had already discussed Slovenia's position regarding the future Multiannual Financial Framework at their meeting on 9 October 2019 in Ljubljana.
As is known, the European Commission presented its proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 in the amount of EUR 1135 billion (1.11% GNI EU27) in May 2018. The group of net-contributor countries insists on reducing this volume to just EUR 1020 billion (1.0% of GNI EU27), which is a reduction of 115 billion, seeking the largest cuts in the areas of the cohesion policy and the Common Agricultural Policy. In December 2019, Finland's Presidency of the Council of the EU presented a compromise proposal for the future multiannual financial framework, which provided for a reduction of the Multiannual Financial Framework to EUR 1087 billion, with further cuts to the cohesion policy, which the Cohesion countries considered unacceptable.