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3. 5. 2018 18:15

EU will reinforce funding for defence, security and external relations, in line with the priorities of the Czech government

The European Commission has presented a draft of the new EU budget for 2021-2027. It has kicked off negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the post-2020 period.

"I welcome that the Commission has taken on board what my government has emphasised for a long time. Apart from an emphasis on traditional and, for the Czech Republic, priority policies such as the cohesion policy or support for agriculture, the European Commission has increased funding also for areas that had been covered only marginally at the European level so far. These are, for example, defence, security and external relations. We will be active in the upcoming negotiations in order to create with our partners a budget for a strong and well-functioning EU,“ said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

"The crucial aspect for us is under what conditions the European budget funding will be spent. We will request that Member States have maximum flexibility in deciding on the financing of their own investment priorities,“ Finance Minister Alena Schillerová added. Based on the development of the next negotiations, the Czech Republic is prepared to discuss the Commission's proposal on increasing the share of the EU budget in the gross national income (GNI) of the EU to 1.11% (at present, the share is around 1%), which will imply higher contributions to the EU budget from the Czech Republic.

"We will condition our consent with the raised contributions to the EU budget upon ensuring fair conditions for implementation of the funds of the future EU budget," Alena Schillerová explained. The final position of the Czech Republic on the proposed reduction will be prepared only based on the conditions for distributing the funds among the Member States, which will be presented by the Commission in the sectoral legislation at the end of May and in early June.

The published MFF proposal also responds to the planned withdrawal of the UK from the EU, which will cause an 8% decrease in the EU budget income after 2020. In this connection, the Commission has come up with the idea of introducing three new own sources for financing the European budget, which would complement the existing sources, i.e. the customs duties, a source from VAT and a source from GNI. The aim of the Czech government is that the income side of the EU budget is clearly arranged and as simple as possible. If those conditions are met and if the time aspect of the negotiation is taken into account, the Czech Republic is prepared to negotiate also on new own sources.

The multiannual financial framework is approved by unanimous decision of the Council with consent of the European Parliament. Already now it is clear that the Commission will make efforts to complete the negotiations before the European Parliament elections in May 2019. The Czech government therefore appreciates the Commission's efforts to present a framework that significantly modernises the European finance so that its structure corresponds to the current priorities and needs of the Union.

The Czech government is prepared to cooperate constructively with the other Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament so that the new financial framework is adopted in time and the implementation of post-2020 programmes can be quickly launched. It is essential for the Czech Republic that the agreement on MFF is balanced and fair for all Member States including the Czech Republic.

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