EU budget to dedicate 25 billion to ‘ministry for cuts’ - Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed the proposal from the European Commission to divert €25 billion away from existing cohesion funds towards implementing austerity measures in Member States. The proposal is included in the Commission’s Communication on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) – the EU’s long-term budget – for the period 2021-2027.
Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “There are many alarming aspects of the Commission’s proposal for the new EU budget – not least the plan to boost military spending by 40% and cut funding to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by 5%. The proposed cuts to cohesion funds of up to 7% is equally alarming, as is the proposal to redeploy a large section of the remaining funds.
“The Commission essentially aims to divert €25 billion away from existing EU Structural and Investment Funds towards the implementation of austerity measures in the Member States through a new ‘Reform Support Programme’.
“Absurdly, this massive funding stream will be targeted towards ensuring Member States implement so-called structural reforms – such as the privatisation of public services, reduction of spending on pensions, and labour reform aims at reducing workers’ collective bargaining power.
“The EU’s cohesion policy is funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds – five instruments that provide crucial support to rural and coastal communities, as well as providing support for employment, research, education and the environment. The Commission wants to make disbursement of €25 billion of this funding conditional on Member States implementing its dangerous economic agenda of cutting public expenditure, regardless of the social and environmental impact of these cuts.
“This MFF proposal is to establish a new Reform Support Programme consisting of three instruments. A new Reform Delivery Tool, under the total control of the Commission, will disburse €22 billion to Member States in a direct exchange for implementation of the Commission’s economic instructions issued under the European Semester process of surveilling national governments’ budgets.
“Secondly, a new Convergence Facility will disburse an additional €2 billion to EU members that are not members of the Eurozone in order to speed up the process of these states reaching the arbitrary and damaging debt and deficit targets required for Eurozone membership – in other words, limited aid in exchange for massive spending cuts.
“Finally, the existing Structural Reform Support Programme, set up to advise Greece and Cyprus how to implement the Troika’s wishes, will be bolstered and rebadged as the Technical Support Instrument.
"Sinn Féin will be vigorously opposing this proposal in the European Parliament, and I urge the sectors who will be affected by these cuts to cohesion funds to raise their voice in opposition."