The European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget, Janusz Lewandowski, shares his thoughts on the 2014-2020 EU budget with Sonja van Renssen.
Lewandowski elaborates on the coming about of the 2014-2020 EU budget, which he characterizes as being overshadowed by the financial crisis and the fact that EU leaders accordingly cannot concentrate on creating a vision for the European Union till 2020. With all minds set on the current crisis, the Commissioner fears that he “can’t guarantee that a budget drawn up in [these] times of austerity will be sufficient up until 2020”.
In the process of reaching agreement on the 2014-2020 budget the Commissioner has to consult both the Council and the European Parliament, and their interest differ greatly. Lewandowski sketches out that the Parliament is always looking for more funds, while the Member States – through the Council – seek ‘more Europe’ in these times of crisis, but conversely want to contribute less money to the EU. Amidst the existing state of affair it proves to be hard to realize more EU with more or less the same budget, says the Commissioner. Actually, this means that nominal cuts in agriculture and cohesion funds are absolutely necessary in order to create extra money for innovation, immigration policies and increasing the mobility of students and workers.