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EU budget post 2020: stronger own resources should not mean a "tax for Europe" but a more transparent and efficient budget, regions and cities say  

In 2017 almost 70% of the EU yearly budget was made by member states' contributions based on Gross Domestic Income (GNI). The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) calls for increasing the budget share originated by own resources, cancelling any correction or rebate mechanism and simplifying the implementation of EU policies so that citizens can better monitor and understand the EU funding process and priorities.

The next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) after 2020, according to Europe's local and regional leaders, provides the occasion for a forward-looking budgetary reform bringing more clarity to EU finances and securing adequate funds for the Union to fulfil new tasks such as defence and border controls, without undermining consolidated tools as cohesion and rural development policy or the social agenda.

To this purpose, in an opinion elaborated by the vice-president of Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regional Council, Isabelle Boudineau (FR/PES), regions and cities urge EU and national institutions to shape an own resources 'package' including a variety of new sources. Among them, the Committee invites to carefully consider options such as a common consolidate corporate tax base (CCCTB), with specific attention for a tax on multinational companies operating in the EU; a reformed VAT resource, simplifying the current sharing mechanism; a financial transaction tax; a carbon tax incentivising the reduction of CO2 emissions; a tax on flights within Europe, on the model of the 2011 Commission's proposal.

" If we want to preserve the EU budget from uncertainty and cuts due to the 'fair return' logic, the share depending on member states' contributions should be reduced whilst the weight of own resources should be increased ", said the rapporteur.

Alongside the own resources system, local and regional leaders emphasise the need to address the issue of the size of the EU budget, to ensure consistency between the priorities set by the EU and the next MFF.

As for the implementation, absorption rates need to be improved, especially in cohesion policy, thanks to a drastic simplification of rules. With regards to the "subsidiarity test" proposed in the " Monti report ", the CoR want it to be assessed avoiding that the subsidiarity principle is exploited as a mean to renationalise EU policies, with a larger share of resources transferred to member states, to the detriment of the regional and local level.

These proposals, adopted by CoR members in the October plenary session, were discussed on 18 October with the European Parliament's co-rapporteurs on the future of EU finances by 2020, Isabelle Thomas and Jan Olbrycht, during a meeting of the Working Group on the EU budget of the CoR commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER). At the end of the meeting, EP co-rapporteurs Thomas and Olbrycht signed up the declaration for a strong cohesion policy beyond 2020 , joining the #CohesionAlliance launched by the CoR on 9 October.

Pierluigi Boda

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