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Thursday, December 16, 2010

EU budget for 2011 adopted by European Parliament

News The 2011 EU budget was adopted by the European Parliament at its plenary session in Strasbourg, the 15th of December 2010. This budget is relevant of most of MEPs' priorities, while respecting the total limits laid down by the Council. In this year's budget negotiations, MEPs also reached agreement with the Council and Commission regarding several budget-related political demands.

The 2011 budget, as adopted by the full Parliament, includes more funding for the priorities set out by MEPs, including youth, innovation, the Middle East peace process and Palestine. Some examples (all figures in commitments): 1a Competitiveness for growth and employment - MEPs won more money for the Lifelong Learning Programme (+€18 million), the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (+€10 million) and Intelligent Energy — Europe programme (+€10 million). 1b Cohesion for growth and employment - MEPs added a new line, worth +€2.5 million, for the Baltic Sea strategy 2 Preservation and management of natural resources - MEPs increased the environment programme Life+ by +€6.7 million and support for the management of fishery resources by +€2 million 3a Freedom, security and justice - MEPs won +€2.35 million for the Daphne programme for the fight against violence against women and children and +€1 million for prevention of terrorism 3b Citizenship - MEPs obtained +€4 million to support the World Special Olympics in Athens and +€3 million to the Youth in Action programme 4 The EU as a global partner - an extra amount of +€100 million for Palestine, the peace process and UNRWA Regarding the overall figures, MEPs accepted the levels proposed in the Commission's draft budget of 26 November: €141.8 billion in commitment appropriations and €126.5 billion in payments. Parliament has always attached more importance to the level of commitments, since they determine the expenditure. Furthermore, there is an agreement between Council, Parliament and Commission that, should additional funds be necessary to fulfil the EU's legal obligations, there will be amending budgets during 2011, as the EU budget cannot legally have a deficit. Parliament's two budget rapporteurs are Sidonia Jędrzejewska (EPP, PL), who has dealt with the European Commission budget (which includes the EU's operational spending, i.e. the bulk of the overall budget), and Helga Trüpel (Greens/EFA, DE), who has steered Parliament's work on the budgets of the other EU institutions. Outcome of MEPs political demands - own resources Aside from the 2011 budget, Parliament had a number of political demands relating to the implementation of the budgetary provisions in the Lisbon Treaty. MEPs laid down seven such demands in a budget resolution adopted at the Strasbourg plenary session in October. The main ones concerned Parliament's involvement in the talks on the next long-term budget and on a new system of own resources. On the own resources issue, the Commission will present a formal proposal by the end of June 2011, so that it is discussed at the same time as the future financial perspective. Parliament's involvement in these matters was laid down in the Treaty (Art. 312.5, 324 and 311) but needed to be worked out in more detail. Involvement of Parliament in future MFF talks After almost two months of negotiations, EP negotiators have achieved an agreement with the Council's Presidency which is backed by the other Member States. It contains a commitment by the next four EU presidencies (the governments of Hungary, Poland, Denmark and Cyprus) on the involvement of the Parliament, which has given sufficient assurances to MEPs. Parliament also successfully argued for systematic assessments to be made of the European added value of new legislation and its funding; for a report on the cost of "non-Europe"; and for an evaluation of the benefits of synergies between the EU and national budgets. Parliament wants in this way to ensure that EU taxpayers get the best value for money. In addition, a compromise was reached on the new priorities stemming from the Lisbon Treaty for which no provision had yet been made in the 2011 budget. The European Commission has undertaken to examine how these new priority areas could be boosted in the budgets for 2012 and 2013. Unlike earlier years, the discussions on all these matters were held at the highest political level, with the participation of Belgian Prime Minister Leterme, Commission President Barroso and many Heads of State and Government. The issue of flexibility within the budget - to cater for unforeseen expenditure for emergencies or new EU tasks - and the financing of the ITER nuclear fusion research project will need to be resolved at a later stage since no agreement was reached between Parliament and Council. For each budget line, there are two different types of budget appropriations: commitments and payments. The commitments refer to how much the EU may commit itself to (e.g. sign a contract or start a tender procedure) in a certain year. The payment level regulates the actual payments being made that year.

Source :  European Parliament - Pressroom


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