Press release 133/2012
Government Communications Unit
25.4.2012 13.36

Net contributors on the EU's multiannual financial framework: towards better and more qualified use of funding

On Tuesday 24 April, seven of the EU's net contributor countries reached agreement on qualitative ways to develop the EU's multiannual financial framework (MFF) in Luxembourg. On the same day, the EU General Affairs Council convened to discuss the proposal for a new MFF, that is the Union budget, for 2014–2020. The negotiations are likely to stretch until the end of the year.

The MFF negotiations are now dealing with detailed issues and therefore the dividing lines between net contributors and the 'Friends of Cohesion Policy' are becoming increasingly apparent.

On Tuesday, a number of net contributor countries submitted a non-paper document to the General Affairs Council summarising the views shared by Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden on how to promote better spending and, at the same time, improve the quality of spending.

In addition to achieving a modest MFF, the non-paper draws attention to the following qualitative elements:
1) Increasing the impact on growth and employment
2) Enforcing macroeconomic conditionalities
3) Introducing a common strategic framework
4) Reviewing process
5) Creating a reserve as an incentive for good implementation
6) National co-financing
7) Making more use of EIB expertise

The net contributors' non-paper was prepared during a working breakfast hosted by Germany. Great-Britain and the Czech Republic did not sign the non-paper because of the entries on macroeconomic conditionalities but expressed their strong support for the other elements of the paper.

Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb represented Finland at the net contributors' breakfast meeting and at the General Affairs Council. In addition to the non-paper, Minister Stubb drew attention to Finland's main objectives: to maintain the real value of rural development funding and to safeguard special financial support for the sparsely populated areas in North and East Finland.

The General Affairs Council also discussed the cohesion policy legislative package. In this connection, minister Stubb emphasised the importance of the Baltic Sea Strategy.

Inquiries: Satu Keskinen, Counsellor, Adviser to the Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 9 1602 2451 or +358 40 508 6722 and Antti Timonen, Press Attaché, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 590 7231 or forename.surname@formin.fi