Friday

26th Apr 2019

EU approves extra funds for Galileo and technology institute

EU ministers have agreed to full public financing of the Galileo satellite system and a brand new technology institute, as part of a deal on the bloc's 2008 budget - the first ever to earmark more cash for growth and jobs than for farm aid.

After months of disagreement over who should foot the bill for the two big projects – private sector co-financing was originally the plan - member states agreed late Friday (23 November) to push forward with them using funds solely from EU coffers.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The EU has agreed to pay extra cash for the two big projects, which failed to attract private investors (Photo: European Commission)

Galileo, the 30-satellite navigation system designed to rival the US global positioning system (GPS) will receive an extra €2.4 billion than originally planned. Some €1.6 billion will come from unspent farm subsidies, which would otherwise have headed back to national capitals.

Germany, as the biggest contributor to the EU budget, had strongly opposed this scenario fearing it would set a precedent for not giving unspent farm money back to national capitals, despite a declaration that it is to be an "exceptional measure."

"It's a question of budget discipline," the country's spokesman said, explaining Germany's decision to vote against the deal.

The plan to kickstart the satellite system with an extra financial injection from public money was proposed by the European Commission in June, after a private consortium of companies failed to agree on the details of their investment in the initial phase of its construction.

A similar fate occurred to the European Institute of Technology (EIT), another flagship project of the commission under Jose Manuel Barroso. It also failed to attract enough interest among private investors and needs to be supported by EU tax payers.

The finance ministers gave the green light to an extra €309 million from various existing budgetary chapters to enable the new body to start organising the first three technology projects in its portfolio during 2008.

Mr Barroso warmly welcomed Friday's budgetary deal as proof of the bloc's orientation towards growth and jobs, maintaining that the two projects "will foster innovation, technological progress and competitiveness across the whole EU."

"This is a budget for a Europe of results," Mr Barroso added. Meanwhile, budget commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite repeated throughout the negotiations that the 2008 budget is "historic" as it puts aside more money for economic goals than for the common agriculture policy.

Altogether, the EU plans to spend €120.3 billion next year which represents 0.96 percent of the bloc's gross national income.

The 2008 budget also includes €285.3 million earmarked for foreign policy and security operations, including planned police and administrative missions in Kosovo when the EU replaces the UN in Serbia's province.

EU and Japan in delicate trade talks

The Japanese PM comes to Brussels to discuss the first results of the new EU-Japan free trade deal, plus WTO reform - a sensitive topic before he moves onto Washington to face Donald Trump.

News in Brief

  1. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  2. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  3. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  4. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  5. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave
  6. Far-right party leaders meet in Prague
  7. Priest shames politicians at reporter's funeral in Belfast
  8. Putin offers Russian citizenship to Ukraine regions

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  2. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  3. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  4. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  5. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  6. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  7. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  8. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us