The EU Council and the European Parliament reached agreement on the European Union budget for 2014 in negotiations in Brussels on November 11. The budget amounts to 142.6 billion euro in commitments and 135.5 billion euro in payments.
“This step is very important for the entire European Union. We have agreed to reinforce the financing of such priority areas as economic growth, jobs, innovation and humanitarian aid. EU agencies dealing with migration, asylum and border control were strengthened, as were European financial supervisory authorities. The agreement of the Council and the Parliament sets the high mark for the next EU multiannual financial framework,” said Algimantas Rimkūnas, president of the ECOFIN (budget) council and deputy finance minister of Lithuania, current holder of the EU presidency.
Almost half of the budget, 64 billion euro, will be made available to initiatives for smart and inclusive growth. In this area, spending on research, innovation and education will increase markedly while 47.5 billion euro is committed to cohesion policy.
“At the time when many EU member states still face financial constraints, the agreed EU budget does not put more burden on their budgets and at the same time ensures that money is spent on the most important priorities such as youth employment and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. We have also managed to agree that there will be sufficient margins so that the EU is able to respond to unforeseen situations requiring additional expenditures,” Rimkūnas said.
The compromise was reached in the Concilliation Committee which was convened after the European Parliament amended the Council position, increasing payments by 1.4 billion euro and commitments by 855 million euro. The Council and the Parliament should formally approve the agreement within 14 days.
The Conciliation Committee also agreed on the 2013 draft amending budget No 9, which provides 400.5 million euro from the EU solidarity fund to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Romania, which suffered from natural disasters. Part of the sum amounting to 150 million euro will be financed from the 2014 budget.
(Photo: Steve Ford/sxc.hu)