Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Ong - Ngo, Unione Europea

Unione Europea. Budget 2021-27 di 1,135 mld euro. Stanziati miliardi per le ngo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-10-16.

Unione Europea 010 Bicchieri

L’Unione Europea vara periodicamente il budget settennale. È un piano corposo, quello odierna varrebbe circa 1,135 miliardi di euro, e per essere approvato deve sicuramente passare il vaglio del parlamento ma, soprattutto, essere approvato alla unanimità in sede di Consiglio Europeo.

Il punto centrale è che su questa stesura non solo mancherebbe la unanimità, ma persino una maggioranza.

Il budget dovrebbe entrare in discussione a maggio del prossimo ano, proprio nel mese delle elezioni europee che, stando alle previsioni, dovrebbero stravolgere gli attuali assetti politici.

«unrealistic scenario»

Il piano che ora circola in bozza, rivisto quasi giorno per giorno, sembrerebbe essere stato scritto da liberal socialisti sul letto di morte.

Fiumi di denaro si riverserebbero per finanziare le migrazioni, tanto per fare un piccolo esempio, per sovvenzionare l’agricoltura francese e quella tedesca, e così via.

Ai paesi del Visegrad ed all’Italia qualche rara briciola, inavvertitamente caduta dalla tavola degli eurocrati.

«That will be the pivotal battle between the two groups of countries»

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«Central and eastern European states also feel targeted by the commission’s proposal on other fronts»

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«The allocation of EU cohesion funds, aimed at poorer regions, will this time tilt towards the southern counties, such as Italy, Greece, and Spain, which have gone through a deep financial and economic crisis, while central and eastern European economies have seen growth»

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«The commission argues this proves the success of cohesion policies: that these largely former communist economies are catching up with the richer part of the EU»

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«However, countries that are set to lose the most, such as Hungary and Poland accuse the EU executive of attempting to punish countries that have clashed with the EU executive over political and legal issues, such as the independence of the courts. These two countries have also been the loudest critics of the EU’s migration policy»

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«Central and eastern European countries are also worried about a possible new mechanism the EU executive wants to introduce to discipline countries where the judiciary has been put under political pressure»

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«The commission wants to be able to “suspend, reduce or restrict access to EU funding” in a proportionate manner to protect EU investments and European taxpayers’ money. But plans for the new procedure, the so-called “conditionality” clause, are still vague»

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Ma la chicca finale è da brivido.

«The MEP tasked with setting the European Parliament’s position on the EU’s planned support for NGOs has proposed a billion-euro program for promoting democratic values and civil society»

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«The EU Commission in May in its budget plan proposed to bundle together some existing programs under the new ‘Justice, Rights, and Values Fund’ to support NGOs protecting European values – which have come under attack in several member states»

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«We want more, in total nearly €2bn, and we have added a new strand to the proposal, which is about rights and values only»

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Mr Soros sommessamente ringrazia e concede anche che gli si baci l’anello.


EU Observer. 2018-10-13. The big European budget battle – who is fighting for what?

The EU is gearing up for its most complex and toughest haggling – as diplomats start to discuss the next long-term EU budget that will define funding for citizens and regions.

According to the traditional dynamic of budget negotiations, participants start out with hefty calls for better, more efficient policies, high principles and common goals.

By the end, however, talks gradually descend to 28 countries bickering over money. It is not a pretty sight, but luckily only happens every seven years.

This time there will be only 27 states (with the UK leaving the bloc next March) contributing to and receiving from the budget until the end of the cycle at the end of 2020 – presuming a EU-UK divorce deal is agreed soon.

The European Commission unveiled its budget proposal in early May with the aim of wrapping up talks before the European elections in May 2019 – an unrealistic scenario.

The EU executive faced two challenges: plug the hole struck by the departure of the UK, which contributed around €14bn annually to the budget, and find money for new challenges, such as migration and security, while maintaining key traditional EU policies on agriculture and economic convergence.

Despite early warnings from some net contributor countries, such as the Netherlands and Austria, to draw up ‘a smaller EU budget for a smaller EU’, the commission increased the overall budget figures slightly.

The biggest net contributor, Germany, supported the commission’s approach, which irked fiscally disciplined allies of Berlin.

The EU executive proposed a €1,135bn budget for 2021-27 in an effort to boost funding for defence, migration, and research in the post-Brexit EU. This means a €192bn increase compared to the previous multi-annual financial framework (MFF).

In 2018 prices, it accounts for 1.114 percent of the EU-27’s gross national income (GNI), compared to the one percent under the current budget with the UK still a member of the club.

While both cohesion and agriculture policies face cuts, the commission proposed to boost funding for the Erasmus student exchange program, digitalisation, research and development, and external border security.

The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark, all net contributors, argue that this is too much, while countries in eastern Europe which directly benefit from cohesion funds do not want to see further cuts in these two key policies of the EU – which account for about 70 percent of the total budget.

Pivotal battle

That will be the pivotal battle between the two groups of countries.

Central and eastern European states also feel targeted by the commission’s proposal on other fronts.

The allocation of EU cohesion funds, aimed at poorer regions, will this time tilt towards the southern counties, such as Italy, Greece, and Spain, which have gone through a deep financial and economic crisis, while central and eastern European economies have seen growth.

The commission argues this proves the success of cohesion policies: that these largely former communist economies are catching up with the richer part of the EU.

However, countries that are set to lose the most, such as Hungary and Poland accuse the EU executive of attempting to punish countries that have clashed with the EU executive over political and legal issues, such as the independence of the courts. These two countries have also been the loudest critics of the EU’s migration policy.

The EU commission says that GDP growth is still the main indicator when it comes to calculating allocations.

But some central and eastern European member states have criticised the introduction of new criteria to determine the sum for member states, for example introducing measures on youth unemployment, climate change and the reception and integration of migrants.

Central and eastern European countries are also worried about a possible new mechanism the EU executive wants to introduce to discipline countries where the judiciary has been put under political pressure.

The commission wants to be able to “suspend, reduce or restrict access to EU funding” in a proportionate manner to protect EU investments and European taxpayers’ money. But plans for the new procedure, the so-called “conditionality” clause, are still vague.

Rebate row?

Another front where member states are expected to clash is the issue of rebates. The UK’s controversial rebate, the partial refund for their payments into the EU budget first negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, will disappear with Brexit.

In a complex mechanism, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden, who are also net contributors, pay only a share of the UK’s rebate.

The commission is arguing that with the UK rebate gone, all rebates should be gone. Yet the net contributor countries want to retain their own rebates, arguing that they need a correction mechanism so that their contribution does not inflate.

The ever-present debate between those who want the EU to have the ability to tax independently, and those who want to keep the right to tax solely in member states competencies, is emerging again this time too.

The commission is proposing that customs duties, contributions based on value-added tax, and revenues from the emission trading scheme (ETS) to be collected at EU level, not a national level, plus revenue from the European Central Bank issuing money.

Over the summer, the commission outlined the details of its planned budget to EU diplomats – but as the European elections of May 2019 are approaching fast and the campaign intensifying, there is little chance for any significant debate until after the poll.

The new budget will then most probably be voted on by a new European Parliament – one that is expected to see a surge in populists, who have very different ideas about EU priorities.


EU Observer. 2018-10-13. MEP proposes €1bn for NGOs supporting ‘EU values’

The MEP tasked with setting the European Parliament’s position on the EU’s planned support for NGOs has proposed a billion-euro program for promoting democratic values and civil society.

The effort is part of the EU’s next long-term budget, set to start from 2021, which is under discussion among member states and the parliament.

The EU Commission in May in its budget plan proposed to bundle together some existing programs under the new ‘Justice, Rights, and Values Fund’ to support NGOs protecting European values – which have come under attack in several member states.

Swedish Green MEP Bodil Valero plans to almost double the funding for the program in her report due to be presented Wednesday (10 October) afternoon at the meeting of the EP’s civil liberties committee.

“When it comes to the support for human rights organisations outside and watchdogs and monitoring and so on, we give a lot of money [to other countries] but we have nothing for Europe. And we are in a situation where we really need a lot of money also for the human rights organisations in Europe,” she said.

The EU has launched probes to check if both Poland and Hungary have risked breaching its values and rules, and concerns have been raised against Romania and Malta. Three journalists were killed in the last year who have investigated corruption related to EU funds in Malta, Slovakia, and Bulgaria.

Valero said she wanted to add the extra funding because the commission did not propose any additional money in the budget plan, while civil organisations are having to do more as EU values are challenged across the bloc.

“We want more, in total nearly €2bn, and we have added a new strand to the proposal, which is about rights and values only,” she told EUobserver.

Valero’s draft report said “given the changed political landscape in the union and raising challenges to European values that EU is currently facing,” she deems the commission’s proposal of €642 million for seven years is “insufficient and cannot respond to the needs of EU citizens to strengthen and protect EU values, as part of pluralist, democratic, open and inclusive society”.

Valero also wants to make sure that at least 40 percent of that funding would be earmarked for NGOs.

‘Bad cycle’

She hopes to have a vote in the civil liberties committee in December and start negotiations with the member states in January.

Valero hopes to conclude before the May European elections, that would tie the hands of the next parliament, which she predicts will be more rightwing.

Populist eurosceptic parties are on the rise in the bloc ahead of the European elections next May.

The new “union values” program “should focus on protecting and promoting democracy and the rule of law,” ensuring the independence of the judiciary, providing support for independent human rights defenders and civil society organisations, whistleblower defence and “support initiatives that promote transparency, accountability, integrity and absence of corruption”.

“Anything that promotes the values of Article 2 in the treaty should be eligible,” she said referring to the EU’s fundamental values of freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, respect for human rights, pluralism, tolerance.

An NGO law curbing the rights of civil groups by Hungary’s government has been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the commission for breaking EU rules. Polish NGOs also fear drying up of resources.

Valero said no country is immune from populist instincts to curb fundamental rights.

“In some countries where the NGOs are living in a very difficult situation, it [the proposal] will change their lives very much.

“I think it is the main reason why we need to have this, we would need it even before 2021, because we see so many countries are restricting the freedoms, and media freedom, not only Hungary and Poland,” she said pointing to Spain’s gag law curbing freedom of expression, and recent efforts in Denmark to restructure the media by cutting significantly funding for the public broadcaster.

She said Europe was in a “bad cycle” when member states see each other getting away with breaking EU values, emboldening others to follow suit.

Her report said: “the deterioration of those rights and values in any member state can have detrimental effects on the union as a whole”.

Valero in her report is also proposing to secure core funding for NGOs for daily expenses, and have money available not only for projects. She also wants to cut red tape to alleviate the burden on the smaller civil organisations.

The Green MEP is confident she can secure the support of the other political groups in the parliament, as she said she aligned her proposal with a previous European parliament report in April calling for a “values instrument” in the new budget for civil society in Europe.

MEP Michal Boni from the Polish opposition Civil Platform, who was in charge of that file, will oversee gathering support for Valero’s proposal among the his peers in the European People’s Party, which counts Hungary’s ruling party among its members.

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