EU Budget 2018 deal: EP boosts support for youth and growth initiatives
- Provisional deal reached in the night from Friday to Saturday
- Boosting funds for research, Erasmus+ and to fight youth unemployment
- Cuts in funding for Turkey
MEPs have fought for and obtained better support for unemployed youngsters and additional funds to boost key initiatives supporting SMEs and research.
In the early hours of Saturday, the negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the EU Budget for 2018, three days before the end of the conciliation period on 20 November at midnight.
The preliminary figures are €160.1 billion in commitment appropriations and €144.7 billion billion in payment appropriations. Detailed figures will be available later.
Youth, growth and jobs
Parliament reversed the Council’s €750 million cuts in the “growth and jobs” area, and secured an increase for the Youth Employment Initiative by €116.7 million in commitment appropriations, raising the total to €350 million, to help youngsters desperately seeking a job.
MEPs succeeded in reinforcing with mostly fresh resources, on top of the Commission’s budget proposal, programmes they considered key to boosting growth and jobs, reflecting widely agreed Union priorities, namely Erasmus+, (+€24 million) Horizon 2020 (research programmes, +€110 million) and COSME (support for SME, +€15 million).
Refugee and migration crisis, cutting funds for Turkey
For Parliament, tackling migration and security are also among the Union’s top priorities. They managed to boost the Commission's draft budget for agencies with security-related tasks: Europol (+€3.7 million and +10 posts), Eurojust (+€1.8 million and +5 posts) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO, +€5 million).
Similarly, for the external dimension of the migration challenge, they reinforced the relevant budget heading by €80 million (on top of the draft budget) on the EU’s external action, which includes the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhoods as well as Western Balkans.
Concerning Turkey, MEPs made sure to cut pre-accession funds by €105 million (with a further €70 million in commitments put in reserve), as they consider the deteriorating situation in relation to democracy, rule of law and human rights worrying.
The Parliament’s negotiation team has obtained additional support for young farmers of €34 million in order to reduce youth unemployment in rural areas. Also, payments for agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and environment were increased by €95 million.
After Council has formally adopted the compromise, it will be voted in plenary in the European Parliament (on 30 November in Brussels) and signed into law by its President.
The lead rapporteur Siegfried Mureșan (EPP, RO) said: "What we set up as priorities of the European Parliament at the beginning of the year we managed to achieve after long negotiations.
We put emphasis on jobs, growth and security and this is what we delivered to EU citizens. More money for tackling youth unemployment in regions that are most affected. We managed also to strengthen support for research, SMEs and education, which are the cornerstone of our competiveness."
"We delivered on security, by enforcing Agencies such as Europol, Eurojust, EASO, who have a crucial role in guaranteeing that we efficiently fight terrorism, organized crime and other serious threats", he added.
"Finally, we have shown that those countries that engage in cooperation with the EU and respect democratic standards will continue to have our unconditional support. For those however that depart from our democratic standards and breach fundamental rights, we have sent a clear message that the money that the EU provides cannot come without strings attached. This is why in light of recent development in Turkey we have decided to cut pre-accession funds by 105 millions", he concluded.
Watch the press conference here.
What are commitment and payment appropriations?
Given the need to manage multiannual actions (e.g. financing a research project lasting 2-3 years), the EU budget distinguishes between commitment appropriations (the cost of all legal obligations contracted during the current financial year, possibly bearing consequences in the following years) and payment appropriations (money actually paid out during the current year, possibly to implement commitments entered into in previous years).