On 15 November, the European Parliament and the European Council reached an agreement on the EU Budget for the year 2022.
The agreement involves a significant increase of financial means, with €440 million more than the initial draft budget and reflects key priorities of the Renew Europe Group.
Renew Europe believes that Europe must lead the way in vaccinating the world to eliminate the pandemic worldwide. During the budget negotiation process, Renew Europe submitted an amendment for a large budgetary increase for global COVID-19 vaccination, which in turn became a priority for the entire European Parliament. The budget agreement now includes €125 million in new funds for global vaccination, including for logistics, syringes, and deliveries. Renew Europe also ensured the European Commission made an amendment for the current year, after first making this request in September 2021, and the European Commission has now submitted a budgetary amendment for €1.3 billion in the recent DAB 6/2021. All these funds will become available at the beginning of 2022 to vaccinate the world. The EU institutions have moreover committed to review and propose further action on this topic by mid-2022.
Rule of law is key for Renew Europe, which is why the Group has prioritised seeking funding for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). This is not an expenditure, but rather an investment. Already only four months after starting operations, EPPO has 300 files open regarding a total of €4.5 billion. With this new budget, EPPO staff will be increased by 76 personnel and their budget increased by €12 million.
Health systems are also under stress across Europe, and immediate funding is needed. Renew Europe therefore pursued a significant increase in EU4Health budget of €51 million for next year, which includes €20 million initially planned to be spent later, but due to the urgent situation will be spent now, and an extra €75 million for the Health Cluster of the Horizon Europe programme, which will help finance the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
The Erasmus+ programme remains a priority for Renew Europe —an entire generation of students has now not been able travel because of the pandemic. That is why Renew Europe pursued an increase of €35 million in the budget of the Erasmus+ programme. Because of this, more than 8,000 extra students will benefit from scholarships to study abroad in 2022.
Finally, Renew Europe believes that Europe must lead the green transition. This is even more true after COP26. That is why it has been a key priority to increase funding for LIFE, the EU programme financing environment and climate actions, by €47.5 million.
Nicolae Ștefănuță (USR PLUS, RO), Renew Europe shadow rapporteur on the 2022 general budget said:
“The EU budget for 2022 will help Europe to come back better. Renew Europe has pushed successfully for EU citizens' priorities, for health, for climate and for protecting the EU budget from fraud. Character is forged in difficult times and the character of Europe tonight is one of solidarity, ambition and vision.”
Olivier Chastel (Mouvement Réformateur, BE), Renew Europe shadow rapporteur for the European Parliament budget for other EU institutions, added:
“We got extra investment in Renew Europe priorities: research, the digital transformation, health, and the environment. The control of expenditure is also reinforced thanks to Renew Europe, by increasing the budget of the European Court of Auditors together with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. Mission accomplished.”
Photo credit: Philippe Buissin, European Parliament 2021.