The European Parliament just determined its position on the European foreign affairs budget for 2021-2027, which amounts to almost 90 billion euro. Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) was closely involved in the negotiations as chair of the Parliament's budgetary working group. She welcomes the call for more transparency and efficiency in the Parliament's position, but cautions against letting migration management dictate the direction of the EU's foreign policy.
Marietje Schaake: 'Priorities in our relations with countries from Myanmar to Zimbabwe and from Lebanon to Venezuela should be economic and social development, the promotion of democracy and freedom of the press and the protection of human rights. Europe has committed to let it its foreign policy be guided by norms and values. Yet that promise is now in danger of becoming a paper tiger. The budget for the promotion of human rights is less than 2% of the total and the European Commission wants to increase funding conditional on the degree to which countries cooperation on migration management.
The proposal published by the European Commission in June last year includes measures to make the budget more transparent. There are currently a large number of incomprehensible and uncoordinated financial flows with different objectives. Schaake already called for an increase in transparency and efficiency in her own report on the EU's foreign affairs budget. The Parliament has included a large number of her proposals today.
Schaake: 'Transparency is essential: we are talking about a budget of 89.2 billion euro. It is only natural that we attach clear objectives and evaluations to that kind of money. It is the only way to ensure the money we spend achieves the desired results. It also allows us to cut funds to organisations and countries which do not adhere to the rules. The Commission proposal is a step in the right direction, but the budget can and should become even more transparent. Not just towards the European Parliament, but also towards European tax payers. For example by setting up one easily accessible and comprehensive overview of all the funds we spend abroad.'
Now that the European Parliament has outlined its position, and as soon as the Member States do the same, negotiations with the Commission can start.