There have been five multiannual financial frameworks (MFFs) to date. The Treaty of Lisbon transformed the MFF from an interinstitutional agreement into a legally binding act. Established for a period of at least five years, an MFF must ensure that the Union’s expenditure develops in an orderly manner and within the limits of its own resources, and sets out provisions with which the annual budget of the Union must comply, thus laying down the cornerstone of financial discipline.
Both Parliament and the Commission have signalled that they are ready to make an effort to reach agreement on the package before the May 2019 European elections. Meeting this deadline would help allow the new programmes to start without delay on 1 January 2021. However, on 13-14 December 2018, having conducted the first substantial exchange of views on the matter, the EU leaders called on the Romanian presidency to continue work at the level of the Council with a view to achieving an agreement only in autumn 2019.