Press release – The MFF is now in the hands of EU Heads of State or Government
20.11.2012, 13:06 (CET)
The special European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday, 22 -23 November, which will address the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of the Union for the period 2014-2020, was at the centre of discussions during the General Affairs Council (GAC) which took place in Brussels, today, November 20. Cyprus’ Deputy Minister for European Affairs, Ambassador Andreas D. Mavroyiannis, who chaired the meeting, emphasised the efforts of the Cyprus Presidency and the time that has been devoted to the MFF negotiations stressing that “now everyone has to go the extra mile and show willingness to compromise”. Following today’s meeting, President of the European Council, Mr. Van Rompuy, is now expected to present a revised version of the draft conclusions that were prepared last week. Earlier in the day, the GAC agreed on a fourth partial general approach on certain elements of the Cohesion Policy’s legislative package for the period 2014-2020.

On the basis of draft European Council conclusions, the General Affairs Council meeting prepared the special European Council dedicated to the Union’s multiannual budget, taking place at the end of this week. The draft conclusions were prepared under the responsibility of the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, after a series of bilateral meetings with all Member States and Croatia, during November 5-9.

The draft European Council conclusions essentially replace the Negotiating Box, while retaining its structure and objective. On Monday night, the ministers  exchanged views with the President of the European Council on the draft conclusions, which propose cuts of up to 75 billion euro to the MFF in comparison to the Commission’s original proposal, affecting all Headings and sub-headings.

Building on the work of the Presidency

The Cyprus Presidency has invested a lot of time and effort into this complex and challenging file. The aim of the Presidency was to maintain the momentum and mature the dossier, preparing the file for a discussion aiming for an agreement at the European Council. 

The Negotiating Box was revised twice, with the second revision including the introduction of figures, reflecting the Presidency’s view that it is inevitable that the total level of expenditure proposed by the Commission will have to be adjusted downwards.

“Our decision was underpinned by a political choice, trying to take into account the views of the Member States in October. The draft European Council conclusions submitted by its President on November 13, develops further the work carried out by the Cyprus Presidency and sets in some places different aspects, something normal at this stage” said Ambassador Mavroyiannis.

The Presidency is hopeful of the outcome of the European Council meeting.

“There are still diverging positions but this is quite anticipated at this stage of the discussion. We believe that an agreement is possible, and there are reasons for this,” he added. ”What is probably more important: all Member States are committed to reach an agreement at the end of this week and are willing to negotiate. All of us now have to go the extra mile and show also our willingness to compromise,” concluded the Deputy Cypriot Minister.

Reflecting on Member State’s views

President Van Rompuy will now reflect on the Member States' reactions and will present a revised version of his draft conclusions. Beginning in the morning of Thursday, November 22, President Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, will hold bilateral meetings with all Heads of State or Government, before the European Council meeting begins.

Before concluding the discussion on this issue, the Presidency informed the ministers that the European Council will also take a decision on the appointment of the member of a new executive board of the European Central Bank.

Following established practice, the Presidency met with the representatives of the European Parliament (EP) before and after the General Affairs Council, so as to inform them of developments and listen to their views, as well as exchange opinions on the issues at stake.   

December European Council and other items of today’s agenda

During the meeting, EU Affairs Ministers also examined the draft annotated agenda for the upcoming European Council on 13 -14 December, which will focus on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, including the progress of the legislative proposals for the creation of a banking union as well as a follow up to the Single Market Act.

Moreover, the European Commission presented its work programme for 2013. The Commission’s goal for 2013 is “to tackle the economic crisis and put the EU back on the road to sustainable growth”.

Cohesion policy

Earlier in the day, a partial general approach was agreed on two further elements of the cohesion policy legislative package for the period 2014-2020. With this agreement, which adds up to a total of nine thematic blocs agreed in the Council during the Cyprus Presidency, the work on the main elements of the legislation at the Council level is completed,  and will enable the Presidency to advance informal trilogues with the EP. 

Today the Council was also debriefed about the Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy, held in Nicosia on 6 November. The Presidency drew Conclusions, with a special focus on the effectiveness and governance of the cohesion, highlighting among others that part of the GAC discussion should regularly be devoted to the Cohesion Policy.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Communications Officer
Poly Papavassiliou

Office of the Deputy Minister for European Affairs
Multiannual Financial Framework
Telephone: +357 22400144

Watch the press conference here

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20.11.2012 - 20.11.2012