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This statement has great potential. Unfortunately, this statement is vague and inaccurate. In order to make a dry topic like the EU budget more understandable for citizens but, at the same time, lay down strong demands and priorities, my suggestion for this statement is: “Financial solutions: a new budget for a new Europe Investing in Europe, investing in its citizens – Socialists and Democrats in Europe want an EU budget that works for people, putting them front and centre of the EU’s sustainable development. For that reason, the Socialists and Democrats in Europe want: · An EU budget that delivers: – The Multiannual Financial Framework post-2020 must not be reduced. Citizens in the EU demand greater alignment between their needs and EU action. In order to be able to deliver to those ambitions and to new priorities, the European Union must maintain or increase the size of its long-term budget. – Not only does the EU budget need to be oriented to delivering to citizens, but also to let citizens know it does. Increasing the visibility of investments made under the MFF should be a priority in both EU institutions and EU Member States’ communication and outreach strategies. · An autonomous EU budget: – Currently, up to 80% of all contributions to the EU budget depend on Member States. In order for the EU to be autonomous in its investment decisions and to be freed from political battles among its members, the EU budget must have capabilities to get own resources. – There are policies that are mostly developed and implemented at the EU level, such as trade or the Single Market. The EU budget should make use of these policies in order to obtain resources to fund its action. For example, by introducing border taxes to products coming from markets with lower social and environmental standards. – Depite this, Member States’ contributions will still be important. However, all rebates and adjustments of national contributions should be ruled out. This move will ensure a fair distribution of efforts between those in a more advantageous economic situation and those who need more support in order to raise their living standards. · An EU budget for sustainable growth and welfare. – Currently the MFF has numerous limitations when it comes to fostering sustainable growth and welfare. The next EU budget should phase out all fossil fuel subsidies and instead divert those valuable resources to ensuring a just transition for workers employed in sectors such as coal mining, energy-intensive industries and high-carbon manufacturing. Our future can only be bright if we provide new opportunities for all. – Public funds must be used in order to trigger investments that would not happen otherwise due to perceived risk. The EU budget is estimated to generate €15 for every €1 spent. Therefore, public investment must be fostered, not hampered, by avoiding productive investments with public funds to be accounted as public deficit under the Stability and Growth Pact. – Make sure at all institutional levels that sustainable development and fighting inequalities are streamlined in all policy areas and projects to be funded with EU funds. · An EU budget for social convergence. – Cohesion policy is one of the most important investment policies of the EU, but it is sometimes too focused on macroeconomic indicators and leaves behind social and environmental considerations. There is a need to ensure cohesion policy remains strong but becomes more efficient and well-targeted to support sustainable development and social convergence. – Open cohesion funding to all regions with a specific focus on those with lower economic development, outermost regions and cross-border regional development. Sustainable development and social convergence must underpin all investment decisions. – Foster the exchange of ideas and experiences between regional authorities with the support of the Committee of the Regions, establishing more twinning programmes to share best practices in sustainable development and circular economy, social convergence, migration and diversity or education and innovation. · A simpler, cleaner EU budget. – Develop an EU budget with deeper harmonisation of requirements across financial instruments. A single rule book should govern the criteria for projects to be eligible for EU funding under the main programmes. This rule book should prevent investments in fossil fuels, hard-line management of migration and diversity or other projects that might be counterproductive to EU policy objectives and incentivise those investments in productivity, social cohesion and sustainable development. – Ensure the principle of budgetary unity by bringing financial instruments outside the formal MFF into the EU budget structure. The single rule book should also be applied to instruments like EFSI, with high capital mobilisation power. This will not only ensure greater coherence and efficiency across instruments but will also allow for parliamentary oversight. – The EU budget must have a clear alignment with EU political objectives, accompanying its long-term goals with robust financial support. On the other hand, the EU budget must also count with crisis-response mechanisms that allow for flexibility in order to cope with unforeseen events. Striking the balance between long-term stability and shock-response thus become essential in the MFF post-2020. – Provide technical assistance for managing authorities to better understand those provisions and requirements to use EU funds for projects. The European Investment Advisory Hub must provide support to local, regional and national actors to develop project pipelines that are both attractive to investors and eligible for EU funding. Civil society organisations and other stakeholders will play an essential role in developing this work with a bottom-up approach”.