MEPs approved the EU budget for 2015 and additional money for settling unpaid bills in 2014 on 17 December. The final compromise between Parliament and the Council foresees €145.3 billion in commitments and €141.2 billion in payments for 2015. Commitments refer to the legal promises to spend money and payments to the actual amount that's going to be paid out in a given year. The extra amount for settling unpaid bills in 2014 is €4.25 billion.
The Parliament has been fighting hard to reduce the growing backlog of unpaid bills from EU programmes and secure vital funding for companies and projects in the member states. This is why the latest budget deal comes with a provision that the European Commission will present a concrete plan to reduce the backlog that is set to reach €25 billion by the end of 2014.
The 2015-2014 budget deal was reached after the Commission produced a second proposal for the 2015 budget as the Parliament and the Council failed to reach an agreement on the original proposal.
The EU's budget for 2015 includes 2% more funding and sets out to deliver 1% more payments compared to the year before. 88% percent of the budget is spent in and by the member states, 6% is devoted to external policy and only 6% is used to run the EU. The entire EU budget represents slightly more than 1% of the gross national income of all member states The draft budget is presented by the Commission and amended by the Council and the Parliament.