By the end of 2016 the European Commission is expected to present its mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020. The results of the review may open the way for a revision of the MFF Regulation. The scope of the review, as laid down in the legislation, as well as the difficult implementation of the MFF in its first years, give grounds to expect changes in the MFF Regulation. However, experience of past reviews and the requirement of a unanimous vote in the Council on the revision of the MFF raise concerns about the final result of the exercise.

This paper explains how the idea of the mid-term review of the MFF has evolved, why it has become so important, and what issues are at stake at the outset of the debate. It shows that in order to ensure a smoother implementation of the MFF in the future years some radical changes are necessary, including an increase of the ceilings and flexibility. Besides, the problems with the implementation of the current MFF give arguments for a thorough reform with a view of the post-2020 MFF.

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