The Cyprus Presidency presented yesterday its new revised Negotiating Box for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2014-2020. It will act as the basis of further negotiations, in light of the special European Council meeting in November during which, Heads of States and Government will aim to reach a final agreement. The revised Negotiating Box presents savings across all Headings of the MFF amounting to at least €50 + (plus) billion. This is the first stage in the negotiations that figures are introduced.
The Cyprus Presidency presented yesterday its revised Negotiating Box, which takes into account the position of Member States and reflects the outcome of the work done so far. The Cyprus Presidency has also sought to take into account the positions of the European Commission and the European Parliament (EP). Ιt also reiterates that the Negotiating Box has been developed on the basis of the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
“I believe we have lived up to our mission as an honest broker, presenting a balanced text, which is charting well the ground to further negotiations that will lead up to the much desired agreement at the Extraordinary European Council in November,” said Cyprus’ Deputy Minister for EU Affairs, Ambassador Andreas D. Mavroyiannis, who has been leading the negotiations on the MFF as the chair of the General Affairs Council.
A challenging task
The new revised Negotiating Box proposes savings across all Headings of the MFF amounting to at least €50 + (plus) billion. The Cyprus Presidency believes that it is inevitable that the total level of expenditure proposed by the Commission, including all elements inside and outside of the MFF, will have to be adjusted downwards. This is the first stage in these negotiations where figures are introduced. The revised paper proposes for all headings and subheadings specific figures, or ranges, or indicates downward revisions. According to the assessment of the Presidency, this is a starting point for delegations in order to reflect on the effects of reductions.
“It has been indeed a challenging and rather daunting task to formulate proposals that take into account all Member States positions as much as possible, trying to find a common denominator among various divergent and sometimes contradicting views, always aiming for the common European good. We have worked hard, in a pragmatic way and in a consensual approach”, stated the Cypriot Deputy Minister.
A prompt and quality agreement on the negotiations of the MFF is a top priority for the Cyprus Presidency, which seeks a fair and effective budget which will be key in fostering growth and employment. The revisions of the Negotiating Box by the Cyprus Presidency reflect these principles.
“At the same time we are well aware of the constraints under which we are working. At a time of exceptional fiscal discipline, it is essential that the future MFF reflects the consolidation efforts being made by Member States to bring their deficits and debt onto a more sustainable path. We must ensure quality of spending and that every euro spent brings European Added Value, and promotes economies of scale, synergy and complementarity”, noted Ambassador Mavroyiannis.
“The MFF can be the cement that will reconcile fiscal austerity and the need for growth and lay the ground for the consolidation of the Economic and Monetary Union, whatever the pace or the extent individual Member States might wish to go”, added the Cypriot Deputy Minister.
Roadmap to the Extraordinary European Council
The Cyprus Presidency has been working very closely with the President of the European Council, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy as the dossier moves up to the level of Heads of State and Government.
The first discussion on the new Negotiating Box will take place at Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) on Wednesday, October 31, when Member States are expected to express their initial reactions to the Presidency’s suggestions.
Consequently, on the basis of the Negotiating Box and the results of the relevant discussions, the President of the European Council will hold bilateral meetings throughout next week with all Member States and Croatia. The aim will be to reach a consensus and bridge convergent views that will enable a much-desired deal at the November European Council.
The Multiannual Financial Framework will be discussed at the Extraordinary November General Affairs Council, which will aim to prepare the meeting of the European Council on 22-23 November.
In parallel, the Presidency is committed to continue working intensively with the European Parliament, including on the negotiations of related common policies and legislative texts, with the overall aim to achieve as much progress as possible by the end of the year, in order to facilitate the timely adoption of the relevant sectoral legislation.
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