Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli and Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna participated in a high-level conference in Brussels on ‘Shaping our Future: Designing the Next Multiannual Financial Framework’. The conference was organised by the European Political Strategy Centre, a think-tank of the European Commission, and was attended by other ministers and stakeholders from across Europe.
Minister Dalli remarked that “guaranteeing a successful future for the European Union requires a spirit of unity in discussions and agreement on the final Multiannual Financial Framework post-2020 by the EU-27 member states. While acknowledging that member states tend to focus on their national perspectives in terms of EU budget, the challenges ahead of us require that as EU-27 member states, we prioritise the initiatives that will guarantee a sustainable future for the European Union”.
Minister Dalli stressed that if Member States believe wholeheartedly in the European Union project, we need to strengthen the European Union’s initiatives through a stronger EU budget post-2020. Minister Dalli highlighted the importance of the research, innovation, and education sectors in the next Multiannual Financial Framework.
Addressing one of the panels on ‘Giving new impetus to completion of the Euro area’, Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna stated that many of the instruments do not require an EU budget, though financial assistance with the undertaking of certain structural reforms is good value for money. He insisted that while now is the time to move forward with needed changes in Eurozone, one should be a pragmatist and not demand unavailable budgets for the stabilization function. ‘A rainy day fund administered by a future European Monetary Fund should be a good start. Otherwise, we should complete the current road-map before embarking on a new one’, he stated.
The discussion focused on the challenges the EU faces in embarking on new initiatives, in the context of Brexit, and the ever-increasing costs to finance current and new initiatives across the EU bloc.