Multiannual Financial Framework
Delivered in Plenary - 14th March 2013
Mr President, the annual budget and the multiannual financial framework (MFF) are the anchor and core around which the entire EU functions, and nothing that the EU does can take place without them. The importance of the annual budget and the MFF cannot be overstated. Agreeing the seven-year budget-cap MFF is therefore the most precious responsibility that we MEPs have: it is a power both material and symbolic.
In material terms, the case for agreeing the budget is clear: the Member States took the collective admirable stance that EU spending could not continue in its current form while domestic budgets were being slashed. It is a simple principle of fairness which we must uphold, but the Parliament’s greater power is the symbol of democratic accountability. We are directly elected, we are accountable to the tax-paying constituents who elect us and we represent their interests.
Members can, of course, vote against this MFF as they did yesterday – albeit cosmetically – in the package. But let them answer for that decision publicly and not seek to hide from the citizens who put them here, as it was suggested that they do with the idea of a secret ballot – which, frankly, outraged us all.