Estonia hails the preservation in the European Union's new multi-annual budget of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which is necessary for the construction of Rail Baltica, but considers the cuts in agricultural and cohesion policy to be too big, Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Matti Maasikas said ahead of the meeting of the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday.
"I commend the increase in areas like external action, digitalization, migration, and fighting climate change, and in particular I welcome the continuation of the Connecting Europe Facility meant for infrastructure projects involving more than one member state," Maasikas said. "If that's not the EU added value, then what is?"
On the other hand, he continued, cuts planned to two traditional policies — the common agricultural policy and the cohesion policy — are too large.
"So I don't know whether this will be a quick process that some may want, but it will definitely be an intense process," Maasikas added.
EU ministers are to on Monday hear the European Commission's report and exchange thoughts regarding the Commission's proposals in connection with the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) beyond 2020. The discussion will take place during a public meeting.
The EU's executive on May 2 proposed a budget to finance new priorities such as defense and order control as well as compensate for Britain's impending departure from the union. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the 2021-2027 budget will be "bigger than the preceding one, because it will determine the future of our Europe of 27 [members]."
The Commission unveiled a seven-year spending package worth €1.135 trillion, which accounts for around 1.1 percent of the EU's total output. Adjusted to inflation, the budget is comparable in size to the budget for the ongoing 2014-2020 period.
Editor: Aili Vahtla