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15th Dec 2019

EU agrees 2020 budget deal

  • Budget committee chair Jan van Overtveldt, and budget control committee chair Monika Hohlmeier look over future budget commissioner Johannes Hahn (Photo: European Parliament)

EU governments and the European Parliament reached a last-minute agreement on a crucial 2020 budget on Monday (18 November) night, boosting spending on fighting climate change.

The EU has committed to spend €168.7bn, of which 21 percent will go to climate. There is also an increase in total payments that amount to €153.6bn, a 3.4 percent increase from 2019.

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A deal was especially important as it is the last spending plan of the EU's current seven-year budget.

If there is no agreement by EU countries by the end of next year on the next long-term budget starting from 2021, the budget agreed on Monday would be the default reference in 2021.

The long-term budget talks will be on the agenda for EU affairs ministers' meeting later on Tuesday (19 November), and will be debated by EU leaders on December, but a deal on the first post-Brexit budget is only to come next year.

Belgian MEP Jan Van Overtveldt, chair of the parliament's budget committee, called the 22-hour negotiating marathon "intense" and said the decision was a "step towards future-oriented choices for the EU."

"The EU budget 2020 is a historic change. Investments in innovation, research and infrastructure. Instead of just cohesion funds and agriculture. In favour of climate and environment. This may be an example for the next multi-year budget," he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

There has been significant differences between EU governments and the European parliament, which wanted to increase spending compared to the plans put forward by the commission.

The deadline for them to agree was Monday, and without a deal the commission would have had to submit new proposals.

Under the agreement the research program Horizon 2020 has an 8.8 increase compared to last year, with €13.5bn.

Over €500m more will be spent for climate action on top of commission's original proposal.

"The climate budget is becoming reality. Instead of cut proposed from the council we will get €500m more on climate and €80m more on youth," Green MEP Rasmus Andersen said.

The European satellite navigation system, Galileo gets an €1.2bn boost, a 74.8 percent increase, and connecting Europe's energy infrastructure, and investing in large-scale deployment of renewable sources, gets a 35 percent increase to €1.3bn.

Erasmus+ education program will receive €2.9bn, an increase of 3.6 percent, while programs to help youth unemployment in the most affected regions will be supported by €145m.

The pre-accession funds for Turkey have been significantly reduced with €85m compared to the draft proposed by the commission, given that Turkey has been drifting away from EU values. However, there will be more funding available for the Western Balkans.

On migration management and border protection, countries will spend €2.36bn, with a total of €3,6bn going for security and migration.

German MEP Monika Hohlmeier, lead rapporteur of the file said parliament "succeeded in adding €850m" for the parliament's priorities to the commission's draft budget.

"As any compromise, is not entirely satisfactory. We remain disappointed by the attitude of net payers, who are not willing to put money where the mouth is," she added, thanking the Finnish EU presidency for brokering the deal.

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