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A draft spending plan drawn up by EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn on Wednesday is understood to have several issues, the main one being they don’t actually know how much money they will have to spend. German news channel Welt reports that the 27 EU Member States that fund the Union with their annual transfers have not yet agreed on funding for the coming years.
The Commission already made a proposal for the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until 2027 in 2018.
But to date, the EU governments have not agreed who will send how much to Brussels in the future and what the money will be used for.
Along with the MFF long-term budget, the EU member states are also negotiating the EU economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus crisis which the Commission has envisaged to be around €750 billion.
A summit is set to take place next month where the EU will agree on stimulus packages and long-term funding from the commission.
The summit is scheduled to take place on July 17 and 18 in Brussels however it is possible that the governments will not come to an agreement until weeks later.
The Commission has already presented its draft budget because it is legally obliged to submit it by 30 June.
However, the draft budget already makes it clear that the EU Commission will face a huge task in the coming months.
Officials suggest that the EU Commission budget for the coming year is expected to be €166.7 billion euros.
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Alongside this, €344 billion will be spent on an EU economic stimulus package in the coming year alone.
According to Hahn’s proposal, it has been suggested that €211 billion should be spent as grants that do not have to be repaid, and € 133 billion should be available as loans.
Rasmus Andresen MEP, the European Greens’ budget expert in the European Parliament, told Welt: “What the 2021 budget will look like depends very much on what the member states will agree on in the coming weeks regarding the MFF and the reconstruction programme.
“I can well imagine that the Commission will have to significantly change its proposal in the autumn when the results of the negotiations are ready.”
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Mr Andresen also warns that the additional 344 billion could overwhelm the existing structures and added: “The Commission has not yet explained how it intends to ensure that the huge sums that are to flow from the stimulus package in 2021 will also be spent sensibly.
“We have to make sure that the funds are not simply spent quickly, but that the money goes into climate-friendly and digital infrastructure.
“So far we have heard very little about this from the Commission.”
Meanwhile, the conservative EPP group in the European Parliament also raised concerns that the huge sums of the economic stimulus package could become a major challenge.
MEP Monika Hohlmeier, who chairs the EU’s Budgetary Control Committee, said: “I do not understand how the Commission should be able to spend so much more money with less staff and control proper use. That worries me a lot.
“It cannot be the case that the Commission leaves the targeted distribution of the money to the Member States alone.
“In certain Member States, there is a risk that the money will go to oligarchs and organised crime.”
The conservative politician also doubts that the heads of state and government will agree on the stimulus package and the multi-annual budget in July.
Presenting his budget, Commissioner Hahn, said: “The budget for 2021 will help hundreds of thousands of people, as well as companies and regions, to cope with the crisis.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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