- Members of the Committee on Budgets reversed all cuts proposed by Council to the draft 2018 EU budget
- Boosting funds for research, infrastructure projects and to fight youth unemployment
Budget MEPs on Tuesday and Wednesday voted through a budget totalling €161.8 billion in commitments, which is €2.3 billion more than the original Commission proposal.
As for the payments, Budgets MEPs set them at €146.1 billion (original Commission proposal: €144.8 billion in payments).
MEPs increased the Youth Employment Initiative by €366.7 million in commitment appropriations, raising the total to €600 million.
They also fully restored the budgets of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which funds infrastructure projects, and the Horizon 2020 programme, which backs research projects. Both programmes had faced cuts as part of measures to help finance the EU guarantee for the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
Funding for a series of initiatives under Horizon 2020 was increased above the original Commission proposal (+€65 million), as well as for other programmes such as Erasmus+ (+€32 million), COSME (+€22.5 million) and the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).
Migration, asylum, security and Turkey
Underlining that current funds are insufficient to address both the external and internal dimensions of the migration and refugee crisis, MEPs boosted the Commission's draft budget for agencies with security-related tasks including Europol (€10 million increase), the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) (€30 million increase) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO, €26 million increase).
For more stability in the EU's neighbourhood, they proposed an increase of €299 million on the EU’s external action, which includes the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood.
For Turkey, however, they decreased part of the pre-accession funds, to be released once Turkey has made improvements in the fields of rule of law, democracy, human rights and press freedom.
The Committee on Budgets has topped up support for young farmers by €50 million in order to reduce youth unemployment in rural areas.
Rapporteur Siegfried Mureşan (EPP, RO) said: “The Parliament’s political priorities for the 2018 Budget are growth, jobs and security. This is a forward-looking budget with emphasis on support for research, innovation and youth employment. We are increasing allocations that add value to the EU economy and enhance our competitiveness globally. We reject all cuts undertaken by Council; the budget adopted by Council would not have enabled the EU to fulfil its duties and commitments.”
The details of the budget will be available shortly and a corresponding resolution will be voted on at the committee meeting on 10 October. The whole Parliament will vote on its position on the Draft Budget 2018 on 25 October. This will kick off three weeks of “conciliation” talks with the Council, with the aim of reaching a deal between the two institutions in time for next year's budget to be voted on by Parliament and signed by its President in December.
In the chair: Jean Arthuis (ALDE, FR)