The Maltese Presidency unblocks the deadlock on the Mid-term Financial Review

The Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union has managed to secure an agreement on the Mid-term Financial Review. This agreement was reached notwithstanding the prevalent divergences between Member States over this framework. Speaking at a press conference following the conclusion of the General Affairs Council meeting held in Brussels, Minister for European Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto Louis Grech welcomed the first-ever revision of the multiannual budgetary framework.

Minister Louis Grech, who was chairing today’s Council, stated that “this milestone reached by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU will ensure that the EU budget is even more effective in tackling current challenges and responding to unexpected needs. It also avoids undue pressure on member states’ national budgets at a time of continuing efforts to consolidate public finances.” He further added that the Maltese Presidency has worked very hard to unblock the deadlock of last year and is very satisfied that an agreement could be reached today.

The multiannual financial framework (MFF) sets limits for the annual general budgets of the European Union by determining how much in total and how much for different areas of activity the EU could use each year when it enters into legally binding obligations.

The revised MFF will provide a reinforcement of Euros 6.01 billion over the years 2017 to 2020 for migration, reinforcement of security, and the strengthening of external border control. Meanwhile, the revised MFF also improves the EU’s capacity to respond more quickly to unexpected needs. To this end, the amounts for the emergency aid reserve and the flexibility instrument will be increased (by an average of Euros 23 million and Euros 145 million per year respectively), at current prices, for the years 2017-2020.

The General Affairs Council agenda also included the finalisation of preparations for the March European Council to be held later this week.

The spring European Council will focus on jobs, growth and competitiveness. It will reflect on how to ensure the sustainability of economic growth. Minister Louis Grech said that “today’s council conclusions enabled us to prepare for a meaningful discussion at the European Council, where the future of Europe is at the heart of the agenda.” He further noted that Member States’ economies are growing and that, for the first time in a decade, positive results are being observed.

Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds Ian Borg was also present for the General Affairs Council.

Source: Government of Malta