EU Council, Parliament reach agreement on EU’s 2020 budget
The Council of the EU and the European Parliament have reached agreement on an EU budget for 2020 “which strongly focuses on growth and competitiveness, climate action and other EU priorities such as security and management of migration,” a statement by the European Commission said.
Total commitments are set at 168.7 billion euro, an increase of 1.5 per cent compared to the 2019 budget as amended.
A total of 1.5 billion euro has been kept available under the expenditure ceilings of the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020, allowing the EU to react to unforeseeable needs, the statement said.
Total payments amount to 153.6 billion euro, rising 3.4 per cent from 2019.
“This increase reflects the continuing implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes at full speed. The aim is to ensure timely payments to beneficiaries and avoid a substantial accumulation of payment claims over the next few years, in particular in relation to cohesion policy.”
The agreed figures are based on the premise that the UK will continue to participate fully in the financing and implementation of the EU budget for 2020, the statement said.
The EU has set itself the goal of dedicating at least 20 per cent of EU expenditure to climate protection in the period 2014-2020. To help meet this goal, the European Parliament and the Council have agreed to increase the focus on climate-related actions in several areas such as research and development (Horizon 2020), transport and energy infrastructure (Connecting Europe Facility) and the EU’s external action.
Additional funds have also been allocated to the EU’s LIFE programme, which will receive €590 million, and the European Environment Agency for recruiting new staff (+6) to support the fight against climate change.
Other important elements of the agreement on the EU budget for 2020 include:
In order to support growth and competitiveness, 25.3 billion euro (+7.9 per cent compared to 2019) have been allocated to programmes under subheading 1a (competitiveness for growth and jobs). This includes more funds for Horizon 2020 (13.5 billion euro in total, +8.8 per cent), European satellite navigation systems (EGNOS and Galileo) (1.2 billion euro, +74.8 per cent) and the energy strand of the Connecting Europe Facility (1.3 billion euro, +35.0 per cent). Erasmus+ will receive 2.9 billion euro (+3.6 per cent) to support youth exchanges.
To fight youth unemployment in the most affected regions, the envelope for the Youth Employment Initiative has been set at 145 million euro.
In the fields of security and migration, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund has been allocated 949 million euro for management of migration, including to support the frontline member states. The Internal Security Fund will receive 501 million euro. Additional funding compared to 2019 will be provided for several agencies, including for new staff to be recruited by FRONTEX (+191), the European Asylum Support Office (+82), Europol (+24) and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (+10). Eurojust will receive an additional 3.7 million euro.
The EU’s external action instruments have been reinforced to cover the EU’s contribution to the Syria pledge as agreed during the Brussels III conference on Syria and to combat the root causes of migration via the North Africa window of the EU Trust Fund for Africa.
As in 2018 and 2019, the pre-accession funds for Turkey have been significantly reduced compared to the draft budget proposed by the Commission (-85 million euro) “given the distancing of Turkey from EU values”. More funds, on the other hand, have been provided for the Western Balkans.
The European Parliament and the Council now have 14 days to formally approve the agreement reached. The Council is expected to endorse it on November 25. The vote in the European Parliament is scheduled for November 27.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)