23rd Oct 2016

EU must do 'more with less' in 2015

  • Budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski presented the EU's spending plans for 2015 to MEPs on Wednesday. (Photo:

Europe will have to do more with less, the bloc’s budget commissioner said Wednesday (11 June) as he unveiled the EU’s spending plans for 2015.

The plans are worth €142.1 billion, up by €1.3 billion on projected spending levels for 2014.

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 approved by MEPs and government ministers, spending would still be €2.5 billion lower than in 2013, reflecting the 3 percent cut to the EU’s spending between 2014 and 2020.

The EU’s flagship infrastructure and public investment projects including the Connecting Europe facility and youth guarantee schemes are in line to get the biggest increase in cash, being allocated €15.6 billion by the Commission, a 29.5 percent increase on this year.

Conversely, structural and cohesion funding for the bloc’s poorest regions sees the largest cut of 5 percent but, at a projected €51.6 billion, will remain the largest single item of spending.

The number of staff in the European Commission is also set to drop by over 1,000.

“We are dealing with more commitments with less money," said commissioner Janusz Lewandowski.

“Some member states don’t take account that political promises have financial consequences,” he added.

More than €57 billion, equivalent to around 40 percent of the total budget, will cover outstanding bills from 2007-13, the previous budgetary cycle.

But if recent history is anything to go by, Wednesday’s proposal will only be the first in a long-running saga between the EU executive, MEPs and ministers.

The Commission has been forced to request extra cash in the last two years, tabling a series of nine amending budgets worth over €15 billion last year, in a bid to plug funding shortfalls.

The EU executive says that it has been the victim of continuous under-budgeting in recent years, leaving it unable to pay its bills without extra money.

The practice is unlikely to go away, with Lewandowski admitting that there was a €23.4 billion overhang of bills from 2013 still to be paid.

Meanwhile, Lewandowski refused to speculate on his own future, despite being elected as an MEP in his native Poland last month.

He remains keen to secure a second term as his country’s commissioner, although foreign minister Radek Sikorski has been touted as a possible replacement for EU foreign affairs chief and commission vice-president Catherine Ashton.

Women shake Poland's pillars of power

Polish women are marching again this Sunday and Monday. They could succeed where the opposition, the European Commission and other protests failed, and redraw Poland's political map.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity