In the first meeting of 2018, the College of Commissioners discussed today the institutional priorities for this year, a year to deliver on the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union, secure the EU's borders, overhaul the EU's asylum system, get back to Schengen, complete the Digital Single Market, and bring the Western Balkans closer to the Union.
89 priority files are currently on the table, 29 have already been delivered, and the College discussed how to ensure that the rest is finalised before May 2019. The debate also included an overview of the major new proposals to be expected for 2018, which will feed into the Roadmap for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union. The Commission will focus on fairness, ensuring Europe can respond in a quicker and more decisive way, using our Treaties to the fullest, and making sure Europe is leading the way in grasping new opportunities and facing up to new challenges.
At the same time, the Commission's approach will be balanced, which is why President Juncker created a new Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and "Doing Less More Efficiently" on 14 November 2017 as a follow-up to the White Paper on the Future of Europe and the State of the Union address. This was presented by First Vice-President Timmermans who debriefed the College on the state of play. The Task Force will be composed of Members of the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and national Parliamentarians with the objective of making recommendations on how to better apply the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, identifying policy areas where work could be re-delegated or definitely returned to Member States, as well as ways to better involve regional and local authorities in EU policy making and delivery.
The College also held a first orientation debate on the next Multiannual Financial Framework which is the the next long-term budget for the EU ahead of the presentation of the Commission's proposals in May 2018.
At his State-of-the-Union speech on 13 September 2017, President Juncker laid out his roadmap towards the European Summit in May 2019. He underlined that the European Union needs a budget that matches its ambitions and meets future challenges. The multiannual financial framework lays down the maximum annual amounts which the EU may spend each year in different policy fields over a period of at least 5 years. The current multiannual financial framework covers the period from 2014 to 2020. Each annual budget must comply with this framework facing a tough challenge to fund more with less.
Moreover, the Commission launched today a series of public consultations on the priorities of the EU that should be reflected in the next Multiannual Financial Framework. This follows the publication of the Commission reflection paper on the future of EU finances on 28 June 2017 and of the Commission White Paper on the future of Europe on 1 March 2017, which encouraged all citizens to join the discussion on the key decisions impacting our common future.
Resources are stretched at the seams but the EU budget is expected to continue investing for growth, jobs and innovation while addressing the major challenges of the decade to come – the digital revolution, globalisation, climate change, as well as migration, defence and security. Citizens have until 8 March to say where they think the EU has the most value added and where it should focus its investment power to maximise the impact of each euro invested. They are invited to give feedback on how the current EU policies and programmes of the EU - such as cohesion and youth policies, support to innovation and businesses and investments in strategic digital, transport and energy infrastructures — work and could further be improved in terms of performance, simplification or opportunities for synergies between funds. The results of this consultation will feed into the ongoing reflection on the next MFF alongside options and ideas already put on the table by Member States, local authorities and private stakeholders.
Source: EU Commission News