EU budget for 2017: Council agrees its position
"More than ever we need to ensure that the EU budget is focused on key priorities and enables the European Union to address the challenges that it is facing."
"More than ever we need to ensure that the EU budget is focused on key priorities and enables the European Union to address the challenges that it is facing. I believe the Council's position responds to this necessity by offering appropriate means to stimulate growth, help creating jobs, reinforce security inside, and outside the EU and tackle the migration crisis. It also ensures good value for money by taking care that the financial resources match the needs", said Vazil Hudák, chief negotiator on the EU budget of the Slovak Presidency of the Council.
The Council's position, agreed on the basis of a compromise text of the Slovak presidency, amounts to €156.38 billion in commitments and €133.79 billion in payments. This is a 0.9% increase in commitments and a 7.0% decrease in payments compared to the 2016 EU budget. The significant reduction of total payments is mainly due to two factors: the implementation of the programmes from the EU's multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2007-2013 has been finalised and the programmes of the MFF for 2014-2020 are not yet fully up and running.
Boosting growth and creating jobs
The Council wants to spend the bulk of next year's EU budget for measures supporting smart and inclusive growth, with €74.3 billion in commitments and €56.1 billion in payments.
Actions financed under this heading include notably:
- the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 with €10.2 billion in commitments and €10.1 billion in payments, which is an increase by 6.9% and 0.7% respectively compared to the 2016 EU budget
- the European fund for strategic investments, with €2.7 billion in commitments (+ 29.5%) and €2.3 billion in payments (+341.3%)
- Erasmus+, with €2.0 billion in commitments (+16.2%) and €1.9 billion in payments (+4.5%)
- European aid for the most deprived (€546 million in commitments and €421 million in payments)
- the youth employment initiative with €600 million in payments.
Addressing the migration and security crises
The Council wants the EU budget to continue to offer the high level of support that has provided since 2015 to help member states stem migration flows, protect EU external borders and combat organised crime and terrorism.
The Council's position provides for €5.2 billion in commitments for specific migration-related expenditure. This includes both internal actions, such as the effective management of migration flows, and external actions targeted at addressing the root causes of migration. It comprises €200 million for the EU emergency support mechanism that the Council set up on 15 March 2016 to help Greece and other member states overwhelmed by the arrival of large numbers of refugees. It also includes €750 million to reach the €1 billion contribution from the EU budget towards the €3 billion agreed for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
To ensure a high level of security in the EU the Council's position contains €738.6 million in commitments and €747.7 million in payments for the Internal Security Fund. This is a 14.4% and 89.3% increase respectively compared to 2016. It will help to further strengthen police cooperation, the prevention and combating of crime and crisis management.
To implement these priorities in full respect of the MFF for 2014-2020 the Council agreed to mobilise a number of special instruments, such as the global margin for commitments, the flexibility instrument and the contingency margin.
The Council will continue its efforts to consolidate EU administrative expenditure by making further cuts to its staff in 2017. Over the period 2013 to 2017 the Council will have reduced its staff by 5%, which translates into a total reduction of 157 posts. The Council notes that the majority of the other EU institutions have also achieved the 5% staff reduction target. The Council calls upon all remaining institutions to deploy the necessary efforts to meet this target by the end of 2017.
The Council is expected to formally adopt its position by mid-September. It will serve as a mandate to the Slovak presidency to negotiate the 2017 EU budget with the European Parliament.
Commitments are legal promises to spend money on activities whose implementation extends over several financial years. Payments cover expenditure arising from commitments entered into the EU budget during current and preceding financial years.
Council position [11166/16 + ADD1 to 6]