24/09/2012 - General Affairs Council (GAC)
Multiannual Financial Framework: negotiations approaching endgame
In the run-up to the November European Council meeting dedicated to the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020, the ministers discussed a revised "negotiating box", presented by the Cyprus Presidency at the Council meeting on 24 September. The updated "box" contains a reduced number of options and reflects the Presidency's suggestion that eventually there will have to be spending cuts in all MFF headings.
"Not all elements of our negotiating box were accepted by most or all member states, but all member states accepted the "negotiating box" as a basis for further work", said Mr Andreas Mavroyiannis, Deputy Minister for European Affairs of Cyprus, who chaired the meeting.
"Delegations are really committed to reach an agreement at the European Council on 22-23 November (…) In the light of the constructive comments made by the ministers today, we feel encouraged to go ahead and to continue preparing the ground for the compromise", concluded the minister.
The Presidency suggests that the overall expenditure ceiling for 2014-2020, as proposed by the Commission (i.e. 1 033 billion euro in commitments and 988 billion euro in payments), will "have to be adjusted downwards".
The "negotiating box" does not yet contain any figures for the overall expenditure ceiling or for individual headings. The Presidency will introduce the specific amounts later this year, following further consultations with the member states.
The key task for the Presidency is to find the right balance between member states' concerns and priorities and to prepare the ground so that an agreement can be reached at the special summit on 22-23 November, dedicated solely to the MFF.
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy will launch bilateral consultations in November with the aim of reaching agreement on as many negotiating points as possible before the November Summit.
- 16 October: General Affairs Council meeting.
- 22-26 October: the European Parliament is expected to adopt its updated position on the MFF.
- 20 November: General Affairs Council meeting.
- 22-23 November: European Council meeting, dedicated to the MFF.
The MFF for 2014-2020 defines the EU's budgetary priorities for that period. The negotiations on the 2014-2020 MFF started in July 2011 and are expected to be concluded by the end of 2012. This would allow the new MFF to enter into force in 2014, following adoption of the relevant legislation.
The parties involved in the MFF negotiations are the European Commission, the Council, and the European Parliament. Each institution contributes in its own way to the adoption of the new MFF. The MFF negotiations are conducted on the principle that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed".
Council's MFF webpages
Press release (pdf)
Ministers' debate (video)
Press conference (video)