The European Parliament and EU Member States struck a deal on Friday night on the priorities and size of the EU Budget for 2012.
Parliament's priorities adopted
The European Parliament had focussed in its proposals on growth, innovation, employment, border control, migration management and support of democratic development in the Arab world and those priorities were all taken on board by the Member States.
"We were very selective with our priorities and I am glad they were accepted by the Council", said Parliament's rapporteur for most of next year's budget, Ms Francesca Balzani (S&D, IT). "This is the first budget in real support of the EU2020 strategy for growth and innovation. It means more money for research, better job qualifications and a competitive Europe."
The MEP who steered the administrative budgets through Parliament, Jose Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT), said the budget for administration - making up somewhat less than 6% of the budget - "strikes the right balance between austerity and administrative needs". He underlined that administrative budgets for the different institutions were treated with rigour an will grow by around 1% only, which is a cut in real terms.
Chairman of the EP delegation in conciliation, Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR), welcomed the agreement: "This budget shows that the EU institutions, in difficult times, are ready to agree on a budget combining budgetary discipline and investing in future growth."
Limited increase in payment appropriations
The increase in payment appropriations will be limited, as requested by the Member States. The Commission, Council and Parliament agreed to take stock in the course of next year to see if the budget is realistic or if repairs are necessary.
The overall budget for next year will amount to €129.1 billion (1.86% increase) in payments and €147.2 in commitments.
Nuclear Fusion Research (ITER)
An additional €100 million was agreed to finance the nuclear fusion research programme ITER in the south of France. A much greater amount will be needed to accommodate all the additional costs for this programme in future years, but that will be on the agenda as of 23 November.
Amending the budget for 2011
Parliament's negotiating delegation and the Member States also reached an agreement on the additional financial needs for 2011, as the Commission could no longer pay the bills in some policy areas. Apart from a reshuffle between budget lines, an additional €200 million will be added to the budget so that payments can again be transferred for Social Fund projects and research.