European Union needs ambitious and proactive budget for period beyond 2020

 In Brussels on 9 January 2018, Szabolcs Takács, Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office attended a panel discussion on job creation and the promotion of economic growth as part of a high-level conference which was held in preparation for the multiannual financial framework for the period beyond 2020.

The Minister of State said that, in addition to security and migration, competitiveness must also be mentioned among the new challenges the EU is facing in light of the fact that in recent years the EU has sustained a competitive disadvantage in the field of digital transformation compared with the United States and countries of the Far East. Bearing this in mind, the next multiannual financial framework will have to continue to focus on promoting investment and closer integration as a particular priority in which cohesion policy plays an especially important role. 

Mr Takács argued that during the planning of the current seven-year budget the general atmosphere was dominated by the desire to overcome the crisis, and in consequence a multiannual financial framework was adopted which identified priorities on the basis of the EU’s solvency by focusing on keeping public expenditures in check. By contrast, the current economic environment allows us to adopt a multiannual financial framework that is better suited to our level of ambition, and we therefore need a braver and more proactive budget. 

The EU is required to face a number of challenges. These include industrial transformation which sets a formidable task for the EU and its Member States. Information and communication technology, digitisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution are areas in which processes have accelerated to an unprecedented extent in response to globalisation, and the deficit that may be observed in these areas in the European Union may jeopardise its global competitiveness. 

In the interest of enhancing competitiveness we must therefore respond to these changes, and must continue the efforts designed to promote the closer integration of less advanced regions and Member States, in line with the goals laid down in the founding treaties. Mr Takács stressed that an EU that is more homogeneous economically is able to offer more effective responses that are necessary for the management of any possible financial and economic shocks. In this respect the EU’s cohesion policy has proved its added European value, has created millions of jobs and has improved the day-to-day living standards of millions of citizens through the development of infrastructure.

(Prime Minister's Office)

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