Common position for budget negotiations found

The member states agreed, on 15 July, their negotiating position on the Union’s 2014 budget with the European Parliament. The Council’s figures are €141.7 billion in commitments (legal ceilings to spend money) and €134.8 billion in payments (money EU actually expects to pay). This initial consensus, reached at technical level in Council, will be politically endorsed by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), on 18 July, before being finally rubber-stamped, in September, by written procedure.

Although new programmes and needs are piling up, the member estates continue to show no appetite for a larger EU budget. The Council’s figures go below the European Commission’s proposal, which already took into account the “austerity” ceilings endorsed by the capitals for the next multiannual financial framework (MFF).

The EU executive proposed €142.01 billion in commitments and €135.9 billion in payments, a 6% cut compared to the 2013 budget. The Council’s cuts are across the board compared to this year’s budget. The most affected envelopes are ‘Competitiveness for growth and jobs’ (Heading 1a), with a 5.53% cut in payments; justice and home affairs (-5.27%) and foreign policy (-3.59%).

The Commission aimed for a 3.3% increase in Heading 1a – the budget line with a potential to boost growth and create jobs. Apart from the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) and the Youth Employment Initiative, this envelope also includes the EU’s new instrument for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, and the Connecting Europe Facility, which aims to strengthen energy and IT networks across Europe.

Once the European Parliament adopts its position after the summer, the Council and MEPs will start the conciliation procedure to merge the two proposals. Before that process kicks off, probably in late October or beginning of November, the Commission plans to amend its proposals, European sources say.

Source: Europolitics


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