As the Deputy will be aware, the European Commission’s proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 was published on 2 May 2018. I welcome publication of the proposals which marks the start of an important debate on the future of the EU Budget.
The proposals come at a time of great change and adjustment for the EU; with new priorities (migration, security, climate change etc) and the departure of UK, the EU Budget needs to remain relevant.
As the Deputy will also be aware, with Ireland’s growing prosperity we have moved from being a net beneficiary to a net contributor to the EU budget. As such, it is important that the next MFF be an appropriately sized spending plan for the EU27 in a post-Brexit era, and that it will be capable of meeting EU 27 priorities. Negotiations on those priorities and how they should be funded will be complex.
It will be important that traditional policies – with demonstrated value – continue to be properly supported in addition to the newer priorities. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) remains a priority for Ireland. Cohesion also remains important, especially for less developed Member States.
We welcome the continued emphasis in the Commission's proposals on other policies which function well: Erasmus+, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, PEACE and Interreg programmes and the EU’s global instruments.
The Commission's proposals are detailed and will require careful examination over the coming period, particularly as further details emerge. All relevant Government Departments will examine the full package carefully to understand the overall implications for Ireland.
An Inter-Departmental group has been established which includes relevant Departments, chaired by my Department, with a lead role from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This group will feed into consideration at senior official level and at Cabinet level to develop an appropriate approach for Ireland to take in the MFF negotiations. Ireland will also engage constructively with European partners on these proposals. These arrangements will be kept under review as the pace of negotiations intensifies.