I will attend a meeting of the European Council this Thursday and Friday, 12 and 13 December. It will be the first meeting chaired by Charles Michel, who took over as President of the Council on 1 December. It will also be the first meeting attended by Ursula von der Leyen in her role as President of the Commission, and by Christine Lagarde since she took up office as President of the European Central Bank. We have a busy agenda and, at the top of it, are climate change and the multi-annual financial framework, MFF, the EU's seven-year budget. We will also discuss external relations, as well as the proper functioning of the World Trade Organization. On Friday, there will be a euro summit where we will take stock of progress achieved by Finance Ministers on EMU reform since the last summit in June, and we will provide direction on how we take the work forward. We will also meet in Article 50 format to consider the state of play on Brexit and the next steps.
In his wrap-up remarks today, the Minister of State, Deputy Cannon, will speak on the WTO issue and other external relations issues. I will focus my remarks on the other items on the agenda. The European Council will begin on Thursday with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. I understand he will raise the idea of a conference on the future of Europe, something both the Parliament and the European Commission have been doing some thinking about. This will be the first discussion on this issue at the European Council and I look forward to hearing President Sassoli's thoughts and the views of colleagues.
The European Union has a significant programme of work to undertake in the coming period, including implementing the strategic agenda which we adopted in June. This built on successful citizens' dialogues in Ireland and elsewhere. The European Council will continue on Thursday with a formal working session where we will discuss climate change. Last October, we welcomed the outcome of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 and confirmed that we would return to this issue in December. This week, we must finalise the guidance we give to the European Commission on the EU's long-term strategy on climate. This will enable the adoption and submission of the EU's long-term strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change next year.
For me, the priority is to build a consensus for our objective of achieving climate neutrality at EU level by 2050. As it is the best way to encourage other countries in other parts of the world to scale up their short-term and long-term ambitions under the Paris Agreement, global leadership by the EU is required. We aspire to become the first carbon-neutral continent. We know this is good environmental, social and economic policy but we also need to bring citizens with us and ensure that the transition is both just and socially balanced. I believe this means supporting the most affected regions and sectors, where necessary.
The Union's future budget will be the main topic for discussion at our dinner on Thursday evening. We will also discuss foreign policy and the World Trade Organization. At the last European Council in October, we asked the Presidency to submit a "negotiating box" ahead of our meeting this week, in other words, a paper with detailed figures which would be used to structure MFF negotiations and to facilitate discussion on individual issues. The Finnish Presidency has now brought forward a proposal based on an overall budget of 1.07% of GNI and has set out suggested allocations across each of the main expenditure headings. We welcome the efforts of the Finnish Presidency to progress the negotiations and I look forward to discussing the proposal with colleagues this week.
As our prosperity has increased and our economy has grown, so have our contributions to the EU, and they are projected to increase considerably further in the next MFF. We benefit so much from our membership of the EU, including through our membership of the Single Market, and it is in our interests that the Union has a budget that is fit for purpose and adequate. Above all, we want to see long-established, well-funded and successful programmes, such CAP and cohesion funding, continue, as well as investment in new challenges, such as migration, security, climate change and digitalisation. Programmes such as Horizon, INTERREG and Erasmus+ are successful and must be properly funded. I welcome the Finnish Presidency's proposal to increase funding for the PEACE programme to €100 million. With contributions from Ireland and the UK, this potentially allows us to have a PEACE PLUS programme of almost €1 billion in the next MFF period, which will be of huge benefit to Northern Ireland and the Border counties, and is a priority for me in the negotiations. I will continue to advocate for CAP because it is a successful policy that ensures food security, promotes regional and rural development in Europe and enables us to encourage greener and more environmentally friendly agriculture. The importance of stopping climate change is reflected more broadly in the proposed budget, with an overall target of at least 25% of expenditure delivering on climate objectives. This is not going to be a meeting where we make decisions but it will set the course for the future discussions on the MFF. I expect the European Council to take a more central role on this from now on.
On Friday morning, our day will begin with the euro summit, at which we will take stock of progress achieved by Finance Ministers on EMU reform since the last summit in June. This will be an opportunity to provide direction on how to advance this work further. The main elements for discussion are reform of the European Stability Mechanism, ESM, the proposed new budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness for the euro area to be provided for in the new MFF, and banking union. On Friday, we will also meet in Article 50 format to discuss Brexit. It is likely that, by then, we will know the outcome of the UK election and its potential implications for ratification of the withdrawal agreement. I will urge the European Council to call on the Commission to propose a comprehensive mandate for the negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship. We need to demonstrate our ambition to have as close and broad as possible a relationship with the UK in the future. The joint political declaration agreed between the EU and the UK provides a negotiating mandate for this next phase. We need to be ready to begin negotiating the future relationship with the UK as soon as it is ready. It is good to see that Michel Barnier will continue to act as the EU's chief negotiator during this phase. It is also essential that the task force maintains close engagement and co-operation with the other EU institutional actors, as it has done to date.
Commissioner Hogan, as Trade Commissioner, will also have a leading role.
The European Council in particular will continue to follow the negotiations closely and provide political direction as necessary.
Ireland has always said we want the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK, trade, security and political. It is also vital to our economic interests that the Single Market is protected and the level playing field provisions that underpin that close relationship continue. In the coming weeks our focus will be on ensuring the timely ratification of the withdrawal agreement because so much depends on an orderly withdrawal. We will continue to expect the UK to ensure the agreement's faithful implementation. In his statement later, the Minister of State, Deputy Cannon, will comment on external relations issues expected to arise at the European Council. For my part, I look forward to engaging with my EU colleagues collectively and bilaterally and welcoming and congratulating the new Finnish Prime Minister on her election. I will of course report back to the House next week.