The week ahead 18th – 21st November 2013

18th – 21st November 2013. EU budget 2014-2020 and 2014 annual budget. Connecting Europe Facility. Trans European Networks. Horizon 2020. Erasmus. Cohesion and regional development funding. Common Agricultural Policy reforms. Single seat for the parliament. Gender balance on boards. Sakharov Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Commission Work Programme. Violence against women.

EU budget 2014-2020 and 2014 annual budget

Nine months after EU heads of government concluded a deal on the next seven year EU budget, MEPs are finally expected to formally approve it. The agreement will see a reduction of 3.4 percent compared to the last seven-year budget, with more resources made available for budget headings that promote economic growth and support newer EU Member States.

ECR budgets spokesman Richard Ashworth believes that the deal reached represents a pragmatic and realistic response to challenging economic and fiscal conditions in all Member States. He wants to see no further delays now that the conditions set down by the Parliament have been met, including measures to prevent a shortfall of payments in the current year – the last of the old seven year framework.

As well as the seven year budget, MEPs are also expected to adopt the annual budget for 2014, following agreement with national governments last week. The package agreed will see headline spending fall from €144.3 billion this year to €135.5 billion in 2014, yet with funding still maintained or increased for areas that help stimulate jobs and growth.
Martin Callanan, ECR Group leader, will speak in the debate

Contact: John Furbisher on +32 498 984760

Vote on 7 year budget: Tuesday @ 12.00

Vote on 2014 budget: Wednesday @ 12.30

Connecting Europe Facility

The CEF sets out conditions, procedures and co-financing rates for the spending of around €30 billion on projects that will improve transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure. It will see up to €5.8 billion spent in the energy sector, a billion spent on telecoms, and €26 billion spent on transport (although €11 billion of this will be ring-fenced from the Cohesion fund).

ECR shadow rapporteurs Konrad Szymanski and Roberts Zile believe the deal sets out balanced funding principles that will prioritise the infrastructure projects that will add the most value whilst still giving some flexibility to national governments to decide upon the infrastructure needs in their country.

Contact: Mateusz Kochanowski on +32 489 582781 or Katarzyna Ochman on +32 470 955928 for Mr Szymanski or Roland Petersons on +32 498 984707 for Mr Zile

Vote: Tuesday @ 12.00

Trans European Networks

Part of the CEF funding will be allocated for Trans European Transport Networks, and MEPs will adopt new guidelines laying out a strategy for how it should be spent on infrastructure for railways, maritime and air transport, roads and inland waterways. The current European transport network is fragmented due to insufficient planning and common standards that allow interoperability of networks. The new guidelines put in place ‘core network’ priorities for 2030 and a more ‘comprehensive network’ that would feed into the core network by 2050.

ECR shadow rapporteur Roberts Zile believes the agreement being voted upon is an acceptable position that would give Member States flexibility in working out their transport needs whilst also bridging the gaps in infrastructure across the EU, so as to support the functioning of the Single Market.

Contact: Press officer to contact: Roland Petersons on +32 498 984707

Vote: Tuesday @ 12.00

Horizon 2020

The Horizon 2020 package will allocate around €70 billion for long-term research programmes until 2020. It will focus funding in three separate pillars: excellence in largely academic-based blue-sky research, supporting industrial companies in innovative areas and finally addressing the so called societal “grand” challenges which include food and energy security, climate change and demographic changes. Some 20 per cent of the funding should go towards small and medium sized businesses and there will be a new financial instrument specifically dedicated to funding innovation.

Amendments by ECR shadow rapporteur Vicky Ford will also cut much of the complex bureaucracy surrounding applications, especially for smaller businesses. She also helped ensure that funding will be awarded on the basis of excellence and believes the agreement being adopted will allow funding to be put to those who make the best case.

Contact: John Furbisher on +32 498 984760

Vote: Wednesday @ 15.00


This programme covers a number of initiatives aimed at assisting cross-border cooperation and exchange in education, training and sport. The ECR voted against the proposals for the scheme in the culture committee but significant improvements in the text during talks with national governments have been made. In particular, the overall budget will be set at €13 billion, instead of the €17 billion requested by the commission; a specific budget line will be devoted to developing grassroots sport; and a previously proposed Student Loan Guarantee Facility will be restricted to a pilot scheme, rather than a long-term liability on the EU’s budget.

ECR shadow rapporteur Emma McClarkin is particularly pleased that more resource has been allocated to supporting grassroots sport projects.

Contact: John Furbisher on +32 498 984760

Vote: Tuesday @ 12.00

Cohesion and regional development funding

MEPs will decide on the conditions for drawing EU structural and cohesion funds under the next seven years budget. Oldřich Vlasák MEP considers the final text to be a balanced compromise as the ECR managed to reduce bureaucracy, reduce the number of redundant checks and give more space to municipalities to decide how to best use the money. Neuralgic points during the vote will be the macroeconomic conditionality and the question of the European Social Fund share on the total allocation in each Member State. That means that cohesion policy could enable the European Commission to enforce social or economic laws.

Contact: Jan Krelina on +32 493 214346

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.30

Common Agricultural Policy reforms

MEPs will vote on the deal reached between the parliament and national governments on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. ECR agriculture spokesman James Nicholson believes the deal is a mixed bag, with some improvements such as in the financial regulation, particularly regarding exchange rates. However, he has concerns on direct payments and on the market measures that will further distort the playing field in terms of differing funding available within member states, and between ‘new’ and ‘old’ member states. Despite some improvements in the distortions between new and old countries, the payments are still not ‘fair’. In addition there is a substantial increase in the ability of member states to use payments linked to production. The market organisation will see some regressive measures such as wine and sugar quotas continued. Mr Nicholson argues that, thanks to this reform, the CAP is ‘Common’ in name only.

Contact: John Furbisher on +32 498 984760

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.30

Single seat for the parliament

As part of the campaign against the parliament’s shuttling between Brussels and Strasbourg, ECR MEP Ashley Fox has co-authored a report addressing the question of the location of the seats of the European Union’s institutions. The report concludes that the continuation of the two seats is an outdated extravagance which cannot be justified to taxpayers. Instead the Parliament should meet in one location of its choosing, which would save a significant portion of the European Parliament’s budget, improve working practices within the Parliament and with the other institutions and would have a positive impact on the environment. To achieve this aim the report seeks to commit the Parliament to initiate a revision of the Treaties on this issue, under the ordinary treaty revision procedure.

Contact: John Furbisher on +32 498 984760

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.30

Press conference: Wednesday @ 15.00 LOW N-1/201

Gender balance on boards

The parliament will vote on a directive that would require listed companies to ensure that at least 40 percent of their board members are women. Those that fail to comply would be sanctioned either by fines, exclusion from public tenders, or even dissolution.

ECR women’s spokesman Marina Yannakoudakis says that there is evidence to suggest that more labour market equality can improve economic growth and that a greater female presence in the boardroom could help attract more skilled women to a company. However, she believes that voluntary levels being applied at national level are having an effect and that an EU ‘quota’ raises the risk of women being open to accusations of ‘tokenism’, which would have a detrimental impact on their standing in the workplace.

Contact: John Furbisher on +32 498 984760

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.30

Sakharov Prize winner Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, the education activist from Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban last year, will visit the parliament to collect the Sakharov Prize that she won in October. Malala was co-nominated for the award by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

Contact: James Holtum on +32 473 861762

Collection of the award: Wednesday @ 12.00

Commission Work Programme

The European Commission will present its programme of work for 2014. The ECR Group adopted a series of recommendations that the commission should include to support economic growth. Find them here.

Contact: James Holtum on +32 473 861762

Presentation: Wednesday late morning

Violence against women

On the day for the elimination of violence against women ECR Member Cristiana Muscardini will host a short film screening and book launch. The film, “Giulia ha picchiato Filippo” will have English subtitles, whilst the book, “La solitudine oltre la legge” will be presented by author Carlo Sala.

Mrs Muscardini will also organise a press conference.

Contact: Emanuele Sanguineti on +32 498 984119

Press conference: Wednesday @ 10.30 LOW N-1/201

Screening and launch: Wednesday @ 15.30 Room N 3.2

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