EU budget negotiations reach impasse as Parliament pushes for more research and health funding

Progress has stalled on negotiations on the next EU long-term budget, the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF), as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the Council of the EU spar over increased funding for certain areas, such as research and health. Talks on October 8, 2020, ended after only an hour with nothing achieved.

MEPs have been pushing to restore the budget increases to various programs proposed by the European Commission, while EU member states in the Council are opposed to reopening the debate on budget ceilings after a deal was only reached by heads of state in a marathon four-day European Council meeting in July.

The German presidency of the Council has offered a “compromise” proposal via letter on October 7, 2020, to prevent a parliamentary veto of the budget deal by suggesting “an increase for the whole financial period amounting to an upper single digit number (in bln. Euro) might possibly be viable".

In a response letter, MEP Johan Van Overtveldt said he was “disappointed” with the Council’s proposal to increase funding for some programs without increasing the size of the overall budget, saying, “strengthening the flagship programmes without touching the ceilings of the MFF, or without placing the costs for NGEU outside the ceilings of the MFF, is neither viable nor acceptable for the Parliament,” given this would mean either reducing funding for other programs or reducing already “very tight” margins.

Next Generation EU (NGEU) refers to a fund that supports the member states' economies during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
German Council presidency proposal - Politico
News article - EU Observer
News article - Science|Business