Following a debate in the European Parliament on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, President David Sassoli warned national governments that the European Parliament would not support any agreement that cuts key programmes that Europeans rely on.
Sassoli said, “The new long-term EU budget is the most important issue at the start of this legislature. The European Parliament supports an ambitious MFF because it is needed to finance the ambitious proposals that the European Commission has put forward. These proposals will boost growth and help tackle inequality in Europe. National governments support these aims but currently are not giving the EU the necessary means to achieve them.
“We want to reach an agreement with the Council, however if they refuse to move and accept Parliament’s positions then we will go all the way and reject the new long-term EU budget. These are not just abstract figures but have real consequences for the lives of all Europeans. How can we even think of cuts to such successful programmes as Erasmus+ or to measures designed to protect our borders?
“Becoming the first climate neutral continent requires unprecedented changes to our economies and our societies. We have to ensure that workers and those most affected by these changes are not forgotten. We cannot allow fighting climate change to lead to greater inequality. The current proposals for the Just Transition Fund are inadequate and must be strengthened if Parliament is to back an agreement.
“A well-funded EU budget is in the interest of all Europeans and all member states. We want to see genuine own resources to put the EU budget on a sustainable footing, rather than relying on funding solely from national governments.”
Sassoli, meanwhile, has also called for the immediate release of Patrick Zaky, an Egyptian student from Bologna who is detained in Cario since last Friday.
Sassoli stated: “I feel the need to bring to your attention the story of Patrick Zaky, an Egyptian student who is studying a Master’s degree at the University of Bologna and was arrested at Cairo airport on Friday morning.
“According to Amnesty International, he was interrogated, beaten and tortured for 17 hours and is still being detained. I want to remind the Egyptian authorities that EU relations with third countries rely on respect for human and civil rights, as confirmed by many resolutions approved by the European Parliament.
“I therefore call for the immediate release of Patrick Zaky and for his safe return to his family and his studies. I talked about this issue today with High Representative Josep Borrell who assured me that he will raise the matter during the next Foreign Affairs Council.”