12 Jul

European Union budget for 2019: European Council agrees its position

EU budget. Infographic (pragmatic calendar). European Council

Yesterday 11 July 2018, EU ambassadors agreed the Council’s position on the 2019 EU draft budget in advance of negotiations with the European Parliament. In total, the Council foresees €164.1 billion in commitments and €148.2 billion in payments for next year’s budget. Compared to 2018, this is a +2.09% increase in commitments and +2.34% increase in payments.

About this fact, Hartwig Löger, Austrian Federal Minister for Finance, has said that “the Council has continued to pursue a balanced approach to the annual budgetary process. We will make sure that financial resources are focused on our current priorities such as economic growth, migration and security, and the best performing programmes. Where justified by our analysis, some of the figures proposed by the Commission have been reviewed. Member states have also ensured that there will be sufficient margin in the budget to react to unexpected needs. I am pleased that the strong backing for the Council’s position gives the presidency a solid basis for its negotiations with the European Parliament”.

Priority fields and programmes

In line with its approach in previous years, the Council wants to see increased support for key EU programmes in the areas of research and innovation, youth exchanges and targeted infrastructure investments. Horizon 2020 would receive +5.79% (€11.9 billion), Erasmus+ programme +10.37% (€2.6 billion) and the Connecting Europe Facility +26.46% (€3.5 billion) compared to 2018. The LIFE programme would also receive an additional 5.20% of funding, or €550 million, to support environment and climate action.

In the field of migration, the Council’s position provides for a significant boost to the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, which would get +55.80%, or €1.1 billion of funds, to promote the efficient management of migration flows. This includes more money for the reform of the common European asylum system. Beyond the EU, additional funding is foreseen for the Central Mediterranean route and the second tranche of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

New and strengthened initiatives

The Council has also supported the Commission’s proposal for a considerable reinforcement of the EU’s civil protection mechanism and the establishment of a reserve of operational assets at EU level (RescEU) in order to help member states deal with natural and man-made disasters.

Support for the European Solidarity Corps, which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects across Europe, is more than doubled, to €103 million. And €245 million is foreseen for the establishment of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, as proposed by the Commission.

New funds will also be made available to finance the creation of the European Labour Authority and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the strengthening of the Office of the European Data Protection Supervisor.

By: Estela Martín

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