Nicolai Wammen, the Minister for European Affairs of Denmark,
Igor Sencar, Slovenian State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Miguel Morais Leitão, Portuguese State Secretary
attached to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
© European Union
The negotiations on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020 at the General Affairs Council on 24 April 2012 focused on future expenditure on the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy – the two policies that together make up around 70 per cent of the Union's budget.
"Today's negotiations show that there is a need for the member states now to prioritize and compromise, so the differences can be narrowed down, and we can get closer to an agreement. Nevertheless, today's negotiations were positive and constructive, and they brought us closer to an agreement," said Nicolai Wammen, the Minister for European Affairs of Denmark, which currently holds the presidency.
All the member states agreed that the MFF is a major tool for boosting growth and jobs in the EU, and that the necessary savings should be made in a balanced way. Some delegations suggested the savings should be made in all parts of the MFF, while others considered the amounts proposed for cohesion policy or agriculture as a bare minimum.
At the heart of the debate on agricultural policy were the rules for direct payments, including a question of whether to cap the support for the largest beneficiaries, and the "greening" of direct payments (for the environmentally-friendly measures).
In the coming weeks, the Danish presidency will present a comprehensive version, including own resources, of the "negotiating box" – the document that sets out all the negotiating issues and options and which will form the basis for the decision of the European Council later in the year.
Next steps in the MFF negotiations:
29 May 2012 – The General Affairs Council will discuss a consolidated version of the negotiating box covering all three parts of the MFF negotiating package (the MFF regulation, own resources and sector-specific acts)
From May 2012 onwards: Further regular discussions on the negotiating box in the Council preparatory bodies and at ministerial level
10 and 11 June 2012: Ministers for European Affairs will hold informal discussions on the MFF negotiating package at an informal meeting in Horsens (Denmark)
June 2012: The European Council will discuss the negotiating box at its meeting scheduled for 28 and 29 June
End 2012: planned finalisation of the MFF negotiations
Press release (pdf)
Ministers' discussion (video)
Press conference (video)