Zovko: The current budget proposal for IPA III is a step backwards
Brussels, 20 February 2020
The European Council convenes today for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, the European budgetary plans for the upcoming seven years. As member of the Parliamentary working group on external financial instruments and as co-rapporteur of the financial instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA III), Željana Zovko follows this debate closely. She emphasized her concerns on the proposal tabled by Council President Charles Michel.
“If we want a stronger EU, we need a stronger budget”, Zovko stated. According to Zovko, the Commission proposed several ambitious programmes that will affect the European citizens positively. However, these ideas are costly and the Council proposes to take these finances from existing budgetary lines. Zovko strongly opposes the idea of cutting into key European policies such as agriculture and cohesion. “With a strong cohesion policy, we deliver on the fundamental ideas of the European Union, a harmonious coexistence without strong regional, social and economic imbalances.”
Zovko also regrets the proposed cuts on IPA III. “The current proposal represents a decrease from the initial plans with 12%. This even means that IPA III will be worth less than its predecessor, IPA II. With the Western Balkans prominently visible on the European agenda, this budgetary proposal sends the wrong message to our partners in the region.” Zovko sees this as a step backwards. It is heavily undermining the EU’s strategic priorities and clashes with the objectives for the Western Balkans.