Budget 2016: Parliament adds extra funds for migration and competitiveness
Parliament added extra funds for handling the unprecedented flow of refugees inside and outside the EU in Wednesday’s vote on the EU budget for 2016. It also topped up resources to fund help create jobs for young people, enhance the EU’s competitiveness and settle its unpaid bills. Parliament reversed all the cuts, including those on migration lines, made by EU ministers.
Parliament's resolution was passed by 434 votes to 185, with 80 abstentions. The exact figures resulting from the vote will be calculated and made available as soon as possible.
Handling the needs of member states dealing with the biggest influxes of refugees and migrants together with those of non-EU countries hosting far larger numbers, Parliament voted a total of €1.16 billion more for migration management measures than the European Commission originally proposed.
"Refugees are not the guilty party, they are victims. We need extraordinary resources to help them, and it is unacceptable that member states do not make this extra effort. Solidarity must be shown in practice, not just preached", said José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT) who is steering the bulk of the budget through Parliament.
Jobs for young people, competitiveness
Parliament added €473 million for contracts for new programmes to help unemployed young people into jobs. Farmers hit by the Russian embargo on food imports from the EU and low milk prices would receive €500 million more.
Parliament added €1.3 billion for the Horizon 2020 EU research programme and the Connecting Europe (infrastructure) Facility, to restore funds borrowed from them to kick-start the Juncker investment plan. The goal is to help sharpen EU competitiveness.
Parliament also insisted that to stay true to the goal of reducing unpaid bills to €2 billion by the end of 2016, as agreed by Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the €1 billion in support for Greece must be financed by fresh contributions from member states.
Three weeks of “conciliation” talks between Parliament and Council start on 29 October with a view to agreeing a compromise in time to vote on it at the November plenary session, where Parliament’s President is to sign it into law.