#Romania2019.eu/Timmermans: Future Multiannual Financial Framework must respond to EU priorities, new challenges

The future of the European Union's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) must respond both to the priorities of the European Union and to the new challenges that cannot always be anticipated, First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said in Bucharest. Obtaining an agreement among the member states and then between the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is an "extremely complicated operation," Frans Timmermans told a joint news conference in Bucharest with the Romanian Minister for European Affairs, George Ciamba, after an informal meeting of the EU ministers and state secretaries for European Affairs. "The MFF has always been very complicated, but it is now even more difficult, with one of our member states (...) a net contributor to the EU budget (UK) leaving the EU," he said. "At the same time, you see all sorts of new challenges coming toward the European Union," he said, adding that the complexity of the whole operation is "really quite a challenge to everyone in it, but "at the end of the day we will find a compromise, we will find a way forward, " and that the meeting in Bucharest help clarify the position of the member states and the European institutions. Timmermans also said that the process of selecting five main priorities five year years ago by the European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker was validated and worked very well. He also said that, the process of identifying priorities has to be conducted "on the basis of where the European Union should be going," and, at the same time, one has "to be ready to act when there are new challenges that reality throws at you." "The biggest challenge in the last years that was thrown at us that we had not anticipated in this dimension, was the migration challenge. We responded to that, I think, in a very adequate way." "If you devise a budget for the future for the multiannual financial framework for the future, you have to make sure you have the means to address your priorities, but you also have to make sure you have the flexibility to react to events, to react to new challenges that you perhaps cannot always foresee," said Timmermans. He called on the member states, especially those who "are a bit wary to come to terms with the need for flexibility", to look at them again "in light of the challenges we have had to face in the last five years." "We have to prepare for Sibiu [a European Council meeting in Sibiu in May] and the discussion there on what the priorities will be for the future," he said. "This is still before the European elections, and then, of course, the European elections will have a strong effect on the choices we will make after that, because the new European Parliament will want to also state its case. (...) The new European Commission will depend on a majority in the European Parliament to get its proposals adopted. And also Council of Ministers representing the member states will depend on the EP as a co-legislator to make things happen after the elections, "added the European official. "We are all preparing for a future that will be challenging, but also promising," Timmermans also said, pointing out that the member states have to 'make sure that the European Union is in a position both internally and externally to respond to the challenges, to use the opportunities, to make a success of the fourth industrial Revolution, to make sure you are prepared for a sustainable future, to make sure we are strong enough to face the challenges that Russia and China and other parts of the world throw at us.' AGERPRES (RO - author: Ionut Mares, editor: Mariana Ionescu; EN- author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Rodica State)

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