In the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the annual ceilings for the expenditure of the EU in various policy areas (the "headings") are determined for a period of at least 5 years. The current MFF covers a period of seven years, from 2014 to 2020.
The MFF also allows the EU to conduct common policies over a period that is long enough to have an impact. By recording how much and where the EU needs to invest in seven years, the MFF is not only a tool for budget planning, but also a means of expressing the policy priorities.
The MFF Regulation provides that the EU can spend up to 959.99 billion in commitments and 908.40 billion in payments for the period 2014-2020 (amounts in 2011 prices). In relative terms, that is about 1% of the wealth of all EU Member States together.
Numerous public and private actors in Flanders receive grants from one or more multi-year funding programs. The most relevant programs are:
- Within heading 1a: Horizon 2020 for research, development, innovation, Connecting Europe Facility for transport, energy, ICT Infrastructure, Erasmus + for education, training and youth, COSME for SMEs, European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) for investment aid for infrastructure development, research and development, innovation, education and training, health, information and communication technologies and development of the energy sector.
- Within heading 1b: the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for economic and social cohesion in the "more developed regions" and the ERDF European Territorial Cooperation
- Within Heading 2: the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) for direct payments to farmers and market related expenditure, the European Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) for rural development policy, the European Fund for Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for fisheries, the Financial Instrument for the environment (LIFE) for environment and climate
- Within heading 3: Asylum Migration Fund for integration, Europe for Citizens for citizen’s participation, Creative Europe for culture, media and creative industries
- The reserve fund: European Fund for Globalisation Adjustment
For the programs under shared management between the EU and the Member States, the Government of Flanders is responsible for co-financing. This is especially so for ERDF, ESF and EAFRD. In addition, the Government of Flanders also provides co-financing for aspects of the Erasmus + program.
MFF after 2020
The Commission will publish a new proposal for the MFF after 2020 before the end of 2017. This will mark the beginning of a long negotiation process within the Council and the European Parliament.
Among others, the following issues will be part of the negotiations:
- the duration of the MFF
- the classification of the MFF into headings
- the height of the headings’ ceilings
- the resource allocation in the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020
- the resource allocation in the economic and social cohesion policy after 2020
- the instruments outside the EU budget, such as the European Development Fund
- the flexibility of the budget
- the role of financial instruments such as project bonds, guarantees, investment funds and trust funds
- the results orientation of the EU budget
- the management of the payment agenda
- the link between subsidies and the country-specific recommendations
- simplifying regulations
- the potential impact on the EU budget of further steps towards completion of the Economic and Monetary Union
- the method of financing the EU budget
Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)