Six billion Euros to pay bills in 2012, priority for growth and jobs in next year's budget and a strategy for dealing with payment shortfalls in 2013. These are the main parts of the budget package formally adopted by the budgets committee on Monday evening. The final step is the plenary vote on Wednesday.
The package now formally endorsed by the committee, following its political approval in committee last Tuesday, includes a budget for 2013 worth €132.8 billion in payments and €150.9 billion in commitments.
This budget amounts to 0.99% of the EU's gross national income (GNI) in payments and 1.13% of EU GNI in commitments. This is less that the 2012 budget (including amending budgets1-6), for which the percentages are 1.05% and 1.15% respectively.
More money to support growth and jobs
Following demands by MEPs, amounts under the competitiveness heading are increased by 4.8% overall from the 2012 level for commitments, in particular for the 7th framework programme for research (up 6.4%), trans-European networks (a 6.3% rise) and the competitiveness and innovation framework programme (a 9.6% increase). The foreign affairs budget is also bigger, with 1.9% more in commitments than in 2012, most of which is earmarked to support Palestine. For more details about the different headings, see the link on the right.
Paying the 2012 bills
The member states could only agree to pay €6 billion of the €9 billion needed to pay the outstanding bills that have to be settled before the end of this year. To ensure that the rest of the invoices are paid as soon as possible, the three institutions promise, as part of the deal, to propose (Commission) and adopt (Council and Parliament) an amending budget with the "sole purpose of covering the 2012 suspended claims" in early 2013.
Tackling expected shortfalls in 2013
As in last year's budgets, the sum agreed for payments falls short of the Commission's estimate of the amount needed. On the basis of the commitments made by the EU - and agreed by all parties - the money set aside for 2013 will probably not be enough. All three institutions therefore promise to actively monitor the use of funds during the year and, if necessary, to propose (Commission) and adopt (Council and Parliament) an amending budget to meet the anticipated shortfall.
Globalisation fund aidfor seven countries
The deal on the amending budget for 2012 now makes it possible to formally mobilise globalisation aid for unemployed workers in seven countries: Spain, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Romania. Until agreement was reached on the extra money for 2012, these funds were blocked owing to a lack of money. These applications will also be confirmed by the full House on Wednesday.
The Council formally approved the package on Thursday, 6 December.
In the chair: Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR)