Zovko: The overall budget for external financial instruments has been decreased significantly, but the support for the Western Balkans remains strong
Brussels/Split, 23 July 2020
On Thursday, the European Parliament gathered for an extraordinary plenary session to discuss the outcome of the European Council marathon meeting on the European budget. In a joint resolution the members welcome the efforts of the head of states and governments to kick start the economy after the heavy impact of the corona pandemic. With a multi-financial framework of 1074 billion euro and a recovery fund of 750 billion euro, the European Member States agreed on the long-term budget for the following 7 years.
Member of the European Parliament Željana Zovko also supported the resolution and stated that the European Council achieved an unprecedented agreement. She explained that the agreement of the Recovery Fund is of great importance for Croatia as the country can count on 22 billion euro in financial support. “This amount clearly shows that the EU recognizes the severe effects of the pandemic in our country and that with European solidarity we can come through the crisis,” Zovko said.
Zovko also pointed at the budget line for the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III). As co-rapporteur on behalf of the European Parliament for this instrument, she welcomes the proposal of 12,6 billion euro. Although it is less than the Parliament asked for (13 billion euro), it is a significantly higher amount than the 11,5 billion that were on the table in February. Zovko attributes this support for the Western Balkans to the efforts of Prime Minister Plenković and the successful Croatian Presidency that brought the topic back on the European agenda. The overall budget for external financial instruments has been decreased significantly, but the support for the Western Balkans remains strong”, Zovko said.
With the agreement in the European Council, the budget negotiations among the European institutions can start. The Parliament already indicated that it doesn’t agree with all proposed lines and that changes are necessary in order to cope with upcoming challenges. Especially on European programs such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, the Parliament expects more support for the next generation of the European Union. Furthermore, the European Parliament also asks for more inclusion in the governance of the budgetary frameworks.