Friday

20th Jan 2017

Breakthrough at EU budget summit

  • EU leaders spent 18 hours just to agree on the overall budget figure (Photo: European Council)

After eighteen hours of talks EU leaders early Friday morning (8 February) agreed to a total EU budget of €960 billion for the next seven years, which is smaller than the current €1 trillion budget.

The farm budget is to be cut from the current €421bn to €373bn. Cohesion funds, the second largest part of the budget, is to be cut from the current €355bn to €325bn.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

If the overall figures are finally agreed, it would be the first time the bloc has cut its budget in its 56-year history.

The only part of the budget to be secured substantially more money is 'competitiveness for growth and jobs' part, up from the current €91bn to €126bn. This is less than proposed originally by the Commission and also less than the €140bn proposed by Van Rompuy in November, when EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the new budget. It remains, however, the biggest hike on any part of the budget.

One of the key initiatives is the European Commission's flagship project, 'Connecting Europe', a plan to invest over €50bn in European transport, energy and internet infrastructures is to take a big hit in the draft budget, with only €29bn made available for it.

Of this €23bn is allocated for transport, €5bn for energy and €1bn for internet infrastructures. For other flag projects, Gallileo, ITER and GMES total €13bn is allocated.

In the budget tabled on Friday morning administration costs are also accepted to go up, from currently €57bn to €62bn in the future budget, which covers a period where EU will take on board minimum one new country, Croatia.

The EU institutions will have to reduce staff by five percent over the next four years. The remaining staff will have to work more for the same amount of money. Also, salaries of EU officials are set to be frozen for the next two years: "As part of the reform of the staff regulation, the adjustment of salaries and pensions will be suspended for two years."

The document tabled by EU president Herman van Rompuy keeps the rebates for Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden. Denmark is added to the list of countries getting an annual rebate of €130 million, while there is no mention of the Austrian annual €179 million rebate enjoyed over the last seven years.

The talks among all EU leaders resumed in the early morning hours of Friday and are still ongoing.

GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room

The commission wants to give the power to member states to reject EU-approved genetically modified organisms, but the Maltese presidency is unlikely to approach the issue any time soon.

New EU parliament coalitions get in shape

Social-democrats and their allies scored a major win on Thursday with the adoption of a report on social rights. But questions remain on the parliament's power balance after the end of the left-right grand coalition.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey