The 22-23 November European Council is a crucial summit for ensuring that the next MFF delivers adequate financing for sustainable development and social inclusion. The Civil Society Contact Group brings together eight large European NGO platforms in the following fields: culture (Culture Action Europe), development (CONCORD), environment (Green 10), human rights and democracy (HRDN), lifelong learning (EUCIS-LLL), public health (EPHA), social and gender equality (EWL). The civil society coalition called for EU funds to be used where they had the biggest impact. The budget must serve EU developed policies, responsibilities outside the EU borders, political commitments the EU has engaged in, and contribute to achieving the Treaty aims and objectives.

The President of the European Council proposed acompromise on 14 November with 75 Billion in cuts. In heading three, the proposed cut to the health and consumer programme amounts to 500 million Euros, which is bigger than the Health for Growth programme. Under the Common Agriculture Policy, there are cuts of 8.3 billion euros. The heading for research, education, and the connecting Europe facility received hefty cuts amounting to €11 billion, even though the Erasmus and research framework programmes are amongst the most well known EU programmes.

Despite the work of the “friends of Cohesion group “, cohesions funds are expected to be reduced by €30 Billion. The cuts are spread almost evenly between agriculture and cohesion policy, which many CAP and Cohesion fund recipients are most likely to contest. The amount of cuts to thesetwo policy areas will represent 46% of the total cuts, even though they together make up approximately 80% of EU spending. At stake is the aid budget for developing countries, that received a nine percent cut. These developments are working for members of the CSCG, because they have continually called for EU spending to reflect the people-centred values and objectives of the EU.

In 2005 the European Council committed itself to undertaking a thorough review of the budget, including a “no taboo” debate on the EU Budgetwith the objective to reflect the needs of tomorrow’s world. The CSCG sees these commitments under threat. Political courage and determination are essential to break from special interests and re-orientate the EU budget to meeting the long-term needs of people living in Europe and beyond in a sustainable way.

The full letter is available here.

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Last modified on December 2 2012.