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Press release

Prime Minister Šarec in Bratislava to discuss EU multiannual financial framework

Prime Minster Marjan Šarec attended the Friends of Cohesion meeting today in Bratislava, which focused on the key priorities of the upcoming EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021–2027. The attendees of the meeting adopted a joint declaration on the topic.

At the meeting, the Prime Minister advocated reaching a fast agreement on the multiannual financial framework, stating that the EU’s cohesion policy and rural development policy are priorities for Slovenia. He stated that the European Commission has earmarked a reasonable amount of funding in the draft financial framework, which despite Brexit is comparable with the present level and in Slovenia’s opinion is an appropriate reflection of the Union’s ambitions. Prime Minister Šarec pushed for a significant role for the cohesion policy in the EU’s upcoming multiannual budget, noting specifically that sudden and significant drops in cohesion funds within countries and regions should not occur during the individual programming periods. With regard to the common agricultural policy, he emphasised the contribution of the rural development policy to the addressing of environmental and climate issues and to the development and preservation of the vitality of rural areas. He also expressed concern regarding the proposed reduction in funding for that policy in the new draft multiannual financial framework.

The Friends of Cohesion group meets during each round of negotiations over the EU multiannual financial framework and comprises advocates of the cohesion policy within the EU budget. This Friends of Cohesion meeting was organised by Slovakia, and in addition to Prime Minster Šarec was attended by the heads of the Czech, Estonian, Croatian, Hungarian, Maltese and Polish governments in order to garner support for a multiannual financial framework that will allocate sufficient funds for financing new challenges and traditional policies, and to support the cohesion policy as a key EU budgetary policy.

Background

The European Commission published the draft of the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021–2027 in May of 2018. It takes account of the EU’s changed circumstances and priorities: from Brexit and the related reduction in EU budget revenues to the changed international circumstances and new challenges in the areas of migration, security, digitalisation and technological changes. The Commission has therefore proposed funds amounting to EUR 1,135 billion for the 2021–2027 programming period, which is comparable in real terms with the current multiannual financial framework and which earmarks increased funding for programmes in the areas of R&D, digitalisation, migration, security and foreign affairs. The Commission has increased funding for these programmes at the expense of a reduction in funding for what have to date been two of the largest policies in the EU budget – the common agricultural policy and the cohesion policy, whose budgets are being decreased by 15% and 10% respectively. Due to the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU, the Commission’s draft also envisages increased contributions to the EU budget from Member States.