The president of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, today urged the Member States of the European Union to start already their work on the multiannual Community budget to avoid uncertainty and to achieve, as the Commission has asked, an agreement before of the European elections.
"The leaders of the Member States sometimes give the impression of avoiding or postponing the work of agreeing the next EU budget, this waste of time is creating great uncertainty at a time when Europeans need future prospects," he said. Lambertz in his speech on the state of the Union from the point of view of the cities.
In the plenary session of the Committee, its president warned that "there is little time" if the goal of approving the budget is to be achieved before the May 2019 elections and that it begins to be applied in 2021, when the seven-year period begins. years that the budget covers.
Lambertz hoped that it is a budget that supports decentralization so that "decisions and investments can be more closely aligned with real needs" and warned that new projects can not be undertaken if there is less money to spend on items such as politics. of cohesion.
"How can the Commission ensure that cohesion is vital for Europe and its regions (…) at the same time proposing a 10% cut in its budget?", Criticized, referring to the first budget proposal raised by Brussels in May and on which the European Parliament and the countries will now negotiate.
Lambertz described the budget reduction as "disproportionate" and warned that "it is common sense" that with an "already inadequate" budget one can not "do more with less".
The Belgian politician regretted that there are Member States that refuse to increase their contribution to the European budget in circumstances such as the "brexit" and new spending priorities, and recalled that it is a "modest" amount for 510 million people and that the largest part of it "flows back to the countries".
The president of the CoR, the European body that represents the cities and regions of the Union, insisted that the EU needs its local authorities as much as the regions need the community club, and assured that European cities are "a factor of stability and trust".
"Sometimes, local representatives can do what a head of state says is impossible," he said, noting that some cities with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, such as the Belgian Mechelen, have welcomed more refugees than certain EU countries.
Lambertz warned that "a Europe exhausted and without means to act" is "the victory of those who want its destruction" and urged to listen to local politicians when they transfer to Brussels the daily concerns of citizens, such as housing, employment or education.
In the plenary session also participated the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who agreed with Lambertz on the need for an agreement on the budget before the elections and recalled that MEPs claim that accounts account for 1.3% of GDP of the Member States, a more ambitious percentage than that proposed by the Commission (1,11%).
In that sense, Tajani was in favor of "not putting his hand in the pocket of citizens" and take advantage of own resources such as the rate on financial transactions, which would make it possible – he said – "increase the budget without asking more money from people "
The Italian politician also opposed the cuts in cohesion policy and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and warned that the reduction of aid to the real economy "harms the system."
On the other hand, together with the first vice-president of the CoR, the Finnish Markku Markkula, Lambertz today obtained the support of the plenary for an opinion aimed at promoting the voice of local authorities to rebuild confidence in the EU, in which they ask the agencies communities that pay special attention to areas such as social and economic policy, integration or the environment.
In addition, they defended a "more efficient" Europe that is guided by the principle of subsidiarity, so that each appropriate level of government takes action on the competencies that correspond to it and that, through a correct "division of powers", improves the transparency, responsibility and quality of legislation.