In Europe too, budgetary questions are causing a lot of ink to flow. Last Thursday, debates began on the new multiannual financial framework of the Union. The 27 have until December to agree on the amounts to be allocated to each expenditure item. The current envelope of 1,216 billion euros, supposed to cover the costs of the European Union over the period 2021-2027, is no longer enough. It must be said that the calculations made in 2020 were somewhat disrupted by the war in Ukraine and the billions of euros in aid sent to kyiv. This is why, at the request of the Commission, the table was returned to the negotiating table. And as a main course, the European executive is offering member states an additional €66 billion. Extension which would be used in particular to increase... the salaries of European civil servants.
If an increase in the European budget is "probably" necessary, as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte reluctantly acknowledges, putting one's hand in one's pocket once again requires an additional effort for net contributing countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany, France and even Italy. However, the EU's main financial windfall comes from the Member States, via their contribution proportional to their economic weight to the “gross national income” which represents 64% of the total budget. Especially since “the Member States are all making very great efforts to put their budgets in order”, observed Alexander de Croo bitterly. As our colleagues from Opinion report, the Belgian Prime Minister banged his fist on the table: “We ask the European institutions to do the same.” Position also defended by Mark Rutte for whom “just as in the national budget, we must from time to time tighten our belts on other positions”.
The pill goes down all the more badly as the salaries of European civil servants are regularly the target of criticism. Indeed, of the additional 66 billion requested by the Commission, 1.9 billion euros would be intended for salary increases, in particular to catch up with inflation, and for the hiring of new staff. Except that the average income of a European Union agent would amount to 6,500 euros net per month, according to the site emploipublic.fr. More than twice the average salary of French civil servants. The total slate is rather substantial: European public administration expenditure peaks at 82.5 billion euros over the period 2021-2027.
Questioned on Friday about the Commission's financial proposal, Emmanuel Macron was quite critical: “The amount proposed today seems too large to us. We therefore asked for a reduction, but I do not think that this reduction should be done by sacrificing priorities [support for Ukraine in particular, Editor’s note].” Having just come out of the European Council, the Head of State invited the Commission to also tighten its belt and abandon the increase in salary expenditure: "Since in most European countries, we are making savings to To be able to maintain our investments in sovereignty, defense or others, we called on the commission to ensure that there is no increase in this item,” detailed the French president.