THE COMMISSION PROPOSAL FOR THE 2021-2027 LONG-TERM BUDGET
The Commission published its proposals for the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-27. Overall, the Commission proposes a long-term budget of €1,135 billion in commitments for 2021-27, equivalent to 1.11% of the EU27’s gross national income. The Commission aims to fund new priorities including in areas such as research, the digital economy, border management, security and defence, and sustainability. As an example of programmes getting funding increases, the budget of Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps will be doubled. In addition, the Commission proposes eliminating all rebates (as the UK has received) and cuts the customs revenues that Member States retain at a national level.
US TARIFF EXEMPTION MET WITH RESERVATION FROM EU
The United States will extend the temporary exemption from steel and aluminum import tariffs to the EU, Canada and Mexico, until 1 June. The European Commission believes that the EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security. As such, it has also indicated that, as a longstanding partner of the US, the EU will not negotiate under threat. Finally, the Commission calls for balanced and mutually beneficial transatlantic work programme. Argentina, Australia and Brazil have already reached agreement with the US for permanent exemptions.
NEW EU – NEW ZEALAND CUSTOMS AGREEMENT
The EU and New Zealand signed an Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters. The agreement will provide a framework for the EU and New Zealand to cooperate in the area of customs with the objective of ensuring effective controls while facilitating legitimate trade; promoting modern and simple procedures in order to save time and money in getting goods through customs; and helping to protect people by stopping harmful or illegal goods from reaching the European market. The agreement also represents a significant first step in setting up a mutually recognized secure trade scheme between the two markets.
PARLIAMENT RAISES CONCERNS OVER CITIZENS’ RIGHTS IN THE UK
MEPs sent a letter to the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid raising concerns about the online application system to register the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit. In the letter, it is recommended that citizens should be able to register in paper format, that there should be no fees for registration, and that there should be contact points across the country where passports can be scanned securely. MEPs said that these concerns were in part sparked by the Windrush scandal, and reiterated the message from the Parliament’s March plenary on the importance of securing equal treatment for EU citizens post-Brexit.
COMMISSION PUBLISHES PENSIONS ADEQUACY REPORT, RECOGNISES LONG-TERM THREATS
The 2018 Pensions Adequacy Report analyses how pensions help prevent old-age poverty for the duration of citizens’ retirement. It underlines that Member States are paying increasing attention to sustainability in their pensions reforms, but further measures will be needed in the future. Despite noting improvements in the situation of Europe’s pensioners, the report says that some 17.3 million or 18.2% of older people in the EU remain at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and that this amount has remained unchanged since 2013. In addition, the continuing gender gap in pensions, and the trajectory of an aging population, is a growing cause for concern.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab