Tuesday

20th Nov 2018

EU budget will not be affected by UK referendum

  • Budget commissioner Georgieva said the UK referendum does not effect the EU budget yet. (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Commission proposed on Thursday (30 June) a 2017 draft budget of €134.9 billion in actual payments with a focus on tackling migration, security issues and unemployment.

'In these difficult times the EU budget is not a luxury but a necessity. It helps as a buffer against shocks," the commission's vice-president responsible for budgetary issues, Kristalina Georgieva, said, adding the overall increase in payments compared to last year is 0.9 percent of the EU gross national income.

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

Georgieva also emphasised that the outcome of the UK referendum will not have a direct effect on the budget, as the UK remains an EU member until the end of exite negotiations.

"For the time being the UK is a member, until the moment they leave, they contribute to the budget," she told MEPs on Thursday.

But the Bulgarian commissioner added that assuming the UK will initiate the exit process, and the exit negotiations will take two years, the issue will come up later, during the review of the multi-annual budget and likely during the UK-EU talks as well.

Georgieva told MEPs that, as a net payer into the EU budget, the UK contributes €5 billion a year with per capita contributions per year amounting to €77. The French contribute €89, and Germans contribute €120 per year per capita.

The commissioner added that the UK is the eighth largest contributor so its exit would be an issue in the future for the EU budget.

The 2017 draft budget would have to go through the member states and the European Parliament, both of which could amend it. An agreement is expected by the end of the year.

The money specifically for economic growth will total €74.6 billion in commitments (funding that can be agreed in contracts in a given year) in 2017, compared to €69.8 billion in 2016.

Focus on migration

The EU's executive proposes €5.2 billion to reinforce external borders and to fight people smuggling. €1.8 billion is planned to top up security costs in the wake of terrorist attacks on Paris and Brussels.

According to the proposal, €111.7 million will go to support Europol, the EU police agency, €61.8 million will be allocated to prop up security of the EU institutions, and €25 million will go for defence research in 2017.

The draft budget also includes €3 billion to set up the European border guard, to help finance the reform of the EU's asylum system, and the EU's asylum agency EASO.

The proposal also includes €200 million to provide humanitarian assistance within the EU, something that has been done before for Greece, where tens of thousands of migrants have been stranded.

Turkey's money

The draft also proposes €2.2 billion for actions outside the EU to stem the flow of migrants.

It includes €750 million for Turkey under the migrant deal reached in March with Ankara, aimed at improving the living conditions of refugees there.

Answering to MEPs in the parliament on Thursday, Georgieva acknowledged that member states have been dragging their feet in putting up the money for the Turkey fund, which amounts to €3 billion for a two-year period, with €1 billion coming from the EU coffers.

"The good news is that member states have deposited assurances for their contributions," she said, adding that the model of written guarantees from EU countries would be a good solution to ensure such funds are viable.

The budget commissioner told lawmakers that €150 million have been delivered and used to provide digital IDs for refugees, which also work as "credit cards" to buy food, pay for rent, and gain access to education.

Cohesion adjustment

The commission proposes to adjust the so-called "cohesion envelopes", subsidies for poorer areas for the period 2017-20, to better respond to member states' needs in coping with economic difficulties and the migration crisis.

The overall increase is €4.6 billion for 2017-20.

The recalculation means extra funds for Italy, Spain and Greece (€1.4 billion, €1.8 billion, and €836 million respectively), with other member states, like Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland and the UK also getting a top-up.

Five countries – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Sweden, Slovenia and Croatia – will see their money slightly reduced (all under €100 million) due to better socio-economic performance than expected.

The allocations for the UK would go up to €50 million between 2017-20, so Britain will receive more money in the final years of its EU membership.

Unpaid bills main hurdle in EU budget talks

Britain and the Netherlands no longer have a problem with paying their EU top-ups, but EU budget talks are stuck on how to settle a €28bn lag of unpaid bills.

Does Italy need €14bn of EU budget waivers?

The EU Commission has agreed to relax Italy’s deficit targets. That could help Renzi ahead of this week's local elections and in a later referendum on constitutional reforms.

Brexit is 'not the end of the world' for EU

The Slovak presidency and the EU Commission awaits Britain's exit notification but have their eyes on a future summit that will focus on reforming the Union.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary grants asylum to ex-Macedonia PM
  2. UK court rules against government in Article 50 case
  3. May to meet Juncker on Wednesday to finalise Brexit deal
  4. Future of EU's Mediterranean naval mission in doubt
  5. EU budget talks for 2019 collapse
  6. EU mulls new Russia sanctions over Ukraine 'elections'
  7. EU farm chief 'confident' sugar prices will recover
  8. Researcher: EU expert groups still imbalanced and opaque

Opinion

Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar

In Brussels, PR professionals and lobbying consultants are working for some of the world's most autocratic regimes. And we have no way of knowing for sure who they are, how much they are paid, or what they are up to.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Boycott threats mount on eve of Interpol election
  2. EU parliament to renege on transparency promises
  3. Cyprus and Greece to create EU spy academy
  4. MEPs likely to delay vote on greater transparency
  5. Cold shoulder for Franco-German euro budget plan
  6. Whistleblower: Danske Bank gag stops me telling more
  7. Spain raises Gibraltar, as EU and UK talk post-2020 relationship
  8. Panic is not answer to EU's security challenges

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us