The final approval of the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) marks a social and environmental austerity for the period 2014-2020.
According to WWF, through the new septennial Budget “most EU expenditure will continue current programmes with a negative environmental impact while environmental-friendly programmes such as LIFE or the Agri Environmental measures are seriously under resourced given their contributions to improving environmental quality”.
As reported in WWF’s Crisis Watch 17, in comparison to the MFF 2007-2013, top “losers” are the policies housed under heading 2 “Preservation and Management of Natural Resources”, i.e. nature conservation, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy. Particularly as regards the new CAP, the MFF 2014-2020 will continue the highly controversial and damaging direct payments system. According to WWF, this is a scandalous policy, which rewards farming practices that destroy the environment and provide scant long-term social benefit.
A last-minute addition to the MFF is the “macro-economic conditionality”, which stipulates the suspension of EU structural funds to member states that fail to comply with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. In practice, this would mean that important support for crucial environmental and social policies would be denied to the states lagging behind in development that depend greatly on this support.
Sources: WWF EU, CrisisWatch 17.