Press release: positive EU budget compromise feels the effect of the EU’s intergovernmental decision-making procedure

Brussels, 13.11.2020

While the recent inter-institutional compromise on the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 (MFF) includes welcomed new own resources, a much needed rule of law conditionality and some additional funds for key programmes, JEF Europe calls for a move away from such painful compromises and intergovernmental processes.

“We commend the European Parliament for standing up to the European Council and its untouchable “done deal” to push for a more ambitious agreement”, comments Emma Farrugia, Vice-President of JEF Europe. “The additional €15bn secured by the Parliament is in fact a higher budget extension than those secured in 2006 and in 2013. Yet, it is far from the initial parliament proposal of over €100bn, which means that certain crucial programmes such as Erasmus+, EU4Health, the Just Transition Fund and the Horizon Europe research programmes, will receive much less funding than what was initially proposed by the Commission”. 

The agreement also ties the use of EU funds with respect for the rule of law by its Member States, part of the fundamental values it strives to be a beacon for. Leonie Martin, President of JEF Europe, says: “We are pleased to see that the watered down conditionality mechanism has been revived to put a stop to the Union sustaining governments that disregard EU core values”.

Whilst there can be little doubt over the approval of the agreement by the European Parliament in plenary session by absolute majority because of the broad representation in the team of negotiators, the unanimous agreement of the Council on MFF may prove more problematic considering the threats of Hungary and now Poland to veto the long-term budget entirely because of the rule of law conditionality. 

JEF Europe also welcomes the legally-binding roadmap and calendar towards additional own resources, including a carbon border adjustment mechanism, a digital levy, the revenues stemming from the Emissions Trading System as well as the use of competition fines as additional budgetary revenue. Emma Farrugia adds: “This is a first step towards a Fiscal Union which will help avoid cutting-off future budgets to reimburse debt and establish a sustainable financial autonomy for the EU, as is much needed to set up the contours of a more united and more federal Europe”. 

This agreement is a crucial step, however national parliaments still need to ratify the decision on own resources. Moreover, all new own resources – to be introduced between 2021 and 2026 – require the unanimous agreement of governments and, then, of national parliaments, which can lead to long and arduous international negotiations, especially in the case of the so-called webtax.

The path to compromise is and will keep being conditioned by the intergovernmental method and the obsessive and paralysing pursuit of convergence between “apparent” national interests. “Now is the time to begin a new constituent phase to overcome the paralysis of the intergovernmental method and lay the foundations for a politically integrated union” concludes Farrugia.


On 10 November 2020, negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council of the EU agreed on a compromise for the next MFF, the EU budget for the next seven years. The agreement includes a conditionality mechanism based on a mechanism to ensure respect for the rule of law, an increase by €15bn of the budget as well as a preliminary agreement on future own resources, all of which were demanded by the European Parliament. At the same time, this budget agreement comes on top of the one brokered in July in the European Council, which does not need to be reopened, in particular the “Next Generation EU” package. 

About JEF Europe
The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe is a non-partisan youth NGO with over 10,000 members active in over 30 countries. The organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy and subsidiarity as well as respect for human rights. JEF promotes true European Citizenship, and works towards more active participation of young people in democratic life. While the umbrella organisation JEF Europe was founded in 1972, its sections have been operating continuously since the end of the Second World War, making it the oldest pro-European and only federalist youth organisation.

JEF on the MFF
16.09.2020 Press Release: JEF Europe calls for an ambitious agreement on own resources for the EU
21.07.2020 Press Release: JEF Europe calls on MEPs to make MFF truly historic
28.05.2020 Press release: Recovery fund and new proposal for EU budget – a further step towards a federal Europe
20.02.2020 Press release: “EU budget negotiations: rather than net-zero emissions, it’s net-zero commitments”

JEF on the Multiannual Financial Framework (initially adopted in November 2017, readopted in April 2020) 


Contact information
Emma Farrugia
Young European Federalists
Rue d’Arlon 53
1040 Brussels [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]