News Details

MEUSAC seminar on the future of EU finances

13 November 2017

EU Budget must cater for the needs of ordinary citizens

In his introductory remarks, MEUSAC Head Dr Vanni Xuereb stated that the Reflection Papers published by the European Commission are directly linked to the White Paper on the Future of the EU, and deal with various aspects and challenges.

Dr Xuereb made these remarks during a half-day event on the reflection paper on the Future of EU Finances. The event was the fourth in a number of events organised by MEUSAC discussing the reflection papers which accompanied the White Paper on the Future of Europe.

While focusing on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Dr Xuereb stated that Brexit shall have a significant impact on the EU Budget. Dr Xuereb remarked that this also puts the limelight on Malta’s upcoming role in the next programming period, as it has so far been a net beneficiary.

The opening address was delivered by Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Dr Aaron Farrugia. Dr Farrugia spoke about the EU’s relevance in citizens’ lives. He stated that citizens expect the EU to play a larger role in various areas, such as migration and defence. Dr. Farrugia also referred to the fundamental dilemma faced in the preparation of the EU Budget, namely that it must maximise the benefits it offers to EU citizens, while also ensuring that the needs of the EU and its Member States are met. Dr. Farrugia said that the European Commission is expected to finalise its proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) by May 2018, to be presented and discussed in Vienna during the Austrian Presidency.

Mr Petr Mooz, Head of the Information and Communication Unit of DG Budget in the European Commission, gave a presentation on the EU Budget and also introduced the Reflection Paper on the Future of EU Finances. After Mr Mooz’s presentation, which was delivered via video conference, attendees participated in three workshops, to discuss how the future of EU finances would affect public entities, civil society, and enterprises. The workshops were chaired by Ms Carmen Dalli, Director at the Funds and Programmes Division (FPD), Ms. Claudia Taylor-East, CEO of SOS Malta, and Ms Abigail Mamo, CEO of GRTU – Chamber of SMEs respectively.

The workshops were followed by a Panel Discussion with Mr Robert Camilleri, Director of the EU Budget Directorate, Mr Stefano Mallia, Member of the EESC, and Mr Jonathan Vassallo, Director-General of the Planning and Priorities Coordination Division. The Panel Discussion focused on the five scenarios presented in the reflection paper, and on Malta’s role in the upcoming programming period, namely whether it will remain a net beneficiary or possibly become a net contributor. The Panel was moderated by Ms Vanessa Macdonald.

Minister for European Affairs and Equality, Dr Helena Dalli, delivered the closing address. Dr Dalli noted that the EU is facing new challenges and that the pressure created by these challenges must be met by the EU Budget. Dr Dalli said that the UK’s departure is an opportunity to modernise the EU budget, and that the White Paper on the Future of Europe is a starting-point for a wide ranging debate.