Press statement: Give the EU the means to keep us safe and warm: a flexible, increased EU budget

Key points

  • As Putin’s energy blackmail pushes up the cost of living, European solidarity must be felt concretely in citizens’ purses.
  • The EU must continue supporting Ukraine until the end of the war, and beyond. Military supplies, humanitarian aid and post-war rebuilding require significant financial effort.
  • To answer today’s and tomorrow’s unanticipated crises, the EU must act immediately to increase its budget. The Council must adopt the Commission’s proposal for automatic increases to the Multiannual Financial Framework’s ceiling based on actually accrued own resources.
  • Meanwhile, the Commission must propose an outright increase to the “own resources ceiling”.

War continues to rage in Europe, as we look ahead towards a heavy winter. Ukraine’s recent military successes strengthen our hope that freedom will prevail over tyranny. Yet, Russia’s aggression is not over. The EU must continue supporting Ukraine until the end of the war, and throughout the monumental reconstruction effort that will ensue.

Everywhere in Europe, citizens feel the mounting cost of living. In particular, energy prices are increasing, as the Russian regime attempts to blackmail Europeans into abandoning Ukraine. Through its RePowerEU Plan, the European Commission has already shown its preparedness to step up and help citizens threatened by energy poverty. However, Russian pressure on energy supplies is intensifying, and Europe must continue to provide an adequate response.

“As Putin aims to stoke unrest and division in our societies, citizens must see European solidarity concretely in their purses. Staying warm in the winter is every citizen’s basic need, which must be guaranteed by the EU when necessary”, affirms Antonio Argenziano, President of JEF-Europe.

In these historic times, the EU needs the budgetary tools to bolster its commitment to Ukraine’s victory, and to weather the energy crisis and any future crises. As a first step, without delay, the Member States must adopt the Commission’s proposal that would automatically increase the ceiling of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework, based on the revenues from the new own resources that have been accrued into the EU budget. Secondly, progress must be continued towards the new ‘own resources’ for the EU budget, such as proceeds from the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, and from a digital levy. These additional resources will help the EU to address future challenges with a renewed budgetary muscle.

Further, the Commission must propose an outright increase for the ‘own resources ceiling’ for the EU budget. The increase of the ceiling sends a clear message: when the EU is hit with a crisis, its seven-year budgetary cycle is not an obstacle. In a world where a new epochal challenge can emerge within weeks, the Union must be able to flexibly increase the resources at its disposal.

In response to the pandemic, the EU adopted the historic Next Generation EU fund, taking a step towards a European budget worthy of the challenges of our time. Even then, the EU’s budgetary capacity remains minuscule: under the current rules adopted in December 2020, the “own resources ceiling” is only 2% of the Member States’ combined gross national income, also accounting for the Next Generation EU fund. The EU clearly needs more budgetary flexibility to react to present and future crises and to invest in a sustainable future. That is why, looking at a forthcoming treaty reform process, the EU needs to be able to empower its own economic policy, where monetary policy tools are clearly not enough to handle inflation and the energy crisis.

In the EU, debates on the budget are the prime arena for national egoisms. Today, European countries must stand united in their resolve to counter Russia’s aggression, and the threat of cold and hunger that Putin aims to spread across Europe. By increasing the EU budget at this moment, the Union can prove that it stands ready to meet the needs of its citizens, and that European values will always triumph.

About JEF Europe

The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) is a political youth NGO advocating for the creation of a democratic European federation as a guarantee for peace, the rule of law and human rights. JEF Europe promotes true European citizenship, works for the widening and deepening of the European Union and strives for a more just and integrated society on the European continent. Established in 1972, the organisation has more than 10,000 activists organised in over 250 national, regional and local sections in 31 countries. The ideals and aims of JEF Europe are defined in the Manifesto of Ventotene, the Political Platform and resolutions adopted by its statutory bodies.

Previous positions

Contact person

Antonio Argenziano, President

Antonio Argenziano, President

Young European Federalists

Rue d’Arlon 53, 1040 Brussels