(7 August 2020) EPSU supports a call for a more ambitious financial agreement, taking account of the concerns of civil society and people in Europe. The call is made by more than thirty platforms of civil society organisations and was made to the Presidents of the EU institutions and to the different actors involved in the negotiations for the next Multinnual Financial Framework 2021-2027. The organisations demand consultation on the drafting of national implementation plans for the recovery fund and the involvement in the governance of the Recovery and Resilience Facility of the Recovery Plan. The group of organisations calls for:
● Increase funding for Europe’s flagship programmes, which support key priorities for citizens and in sectors that have been among the most highly impacted by the pandemic, such as protection of the environment, social inclusion, democracy and fundamental rights, equality between women and men, culture, education, health, and in particular: Erasmus +, Creative Europe, the Justice, Rights and Values Programmes, Life, EU4Health Programme. The amounts proposed in the European Council agreement do not respond to current needs.
● Agree on a strong rule of law conditionality regulation which is a factor that will make or break the EU’s credibility and accountability, and ensure that in case of significant rule of law and fundamental rights breaches, those who need funding are not penalised, and that it is made available to beneficiaries through direct management by the EuropeanCommission.
● Reach an ambitious agreement on the extension of EU own resources so as to be able to meet EU needs on a long term basis.
This letter follows a previous one in which Civil Society Europe asked for a substantial budget and recovery fund. This would allow to deal with a Post Covid-19 Europe that will face a large increase in unemployment, hardship and inequality. The group supported by EPSU argued further that, as huge sums of public money are channeled into recovery plans, civil society’s watchdog function will be particularly vital and will be required to provide active scrutiny in the coming period. The European Ombudsman has also indicated her concerns with the opportunities for corruption the emergency procurement offers for example.
For the concerns of the European Ombudsman on the procurement initiatives of the Council and Commission