Financing EU external action: Understanding member state priorities
In September 2017 the first of several high-level meetings on the European Union's next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) was convened by the European Commission at its Charlemagne premises. The discussions among senior policy-makers revealed a range of visions and expectations for the 2021-2027 EU budget. While some expressed a desire to move beyond 'business as usual' and secure an ambitious new budget that befits Europe's future, others sought to lower expectations of any such outcome given previous experience with EU budget negotiations. These tensions between ambition and caution continue to dominate the debate on the next MFF and it is still unclear what direction it will take.