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Luxury has a purpose

João Trincheiras

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The extremes join forces

José Manuel Fernandes

Portuguese MEP, professor and Portuguese politician

José Manuel Fernandes
The European Parliament has approved the EU budget for 2020, amounting to EUR 168.69 billion. It was a difficult negotiation. The Council (Member States) proposed a cut of EUR 1.5 billion compared to the Commission’s initial proposal. But in the end, Parliament was able to come to an agreement that adds a further 450 million to that proposal. 
During the negotiation, we reinforced the priorities of the European People’s Party by EUR 850 million: a clear focus on research and the fight against cancer, with EUR 302 million more for Horizonte 2020; strengthened support for youth, namely through Erasmus +, the Youth Employment Initiative, DiscoverEU and the Connecting Europe Facility; an unprecedented contribution to the fight against climate change of around EUR 500 million.
As a member of the EU Budget Negotiating Team for 2020, I am aware of the mission accomplished. The EPP and the PSD have been working, in Portugal and Europe, towards achieving good funding for the country.
Portugal will receive more than 13 million Euros per day from this budget, on which is based almost all of public investment in the country over these years of socialist governance, which has incomprehensibly relieved the Portuguese State Budget of this capacity.
No wonder we learned a few days ago that our country is the third lowest EU Member State with in terms of public investment per capita. In spite of this, once again, the far right and the far left voted against the EU budget. In Portugal, the Communist Party and the Left Bloc support a government that neglects public investment to the point where we are at levels below that of the troika time. In Europe, out of pure ideological prejudice, they vote against European investment in our country and try to prevent support for SMEs and vocational training, for Erasmus and research, for youth employment and the modernisation of our health, of our education and of our transport systems. The extremes join forces.