Thursday

2nd Apr 2020

EU commission proposes €141bn budget in last-minute talks

  • The commission proposed a new 2015 budget deal worth €141.3bn (Photo: Jorge Franganillo)

The European Commission has presented revised spending plans in a bid to broker an 11th-hour deal between MEPs and ministers on the bloc’s 2015 budget.

The new draft budget announced on Friday (28 November) by the EU executive foresees €145.2 billion in commitments and €141.3 billion in payments, slightly lower than the commission’s original proposal, but still a 0.7 percent increase on spending in 2014.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

In a statement, budget commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said the new plan is a “sound basis for the renewal of negotiations”.

Trialogue talks between the institutions will begin next week, as the EU faces a race against time to secure agreement.

Last minute negotiations on EU budgetary plans have become an annual fixture in the weeks before Christmas.

Failure to secure a deal by 17 December – the final day on which MEPs will be able to sign off on the budget at next month’s plenary session in Strasbourg - would force the EU to operate under the system of the “provisional 12th”.

According to this rule, the bloc’s spending would by funded on a monthly basis based on the 2014 budget, adjusted for inflation, or for the 2015 commission draft proposal if it is lower.

Earlier this month, a three week "conciliation" period of intensive discussions between parliament representatives and ministers broke off without agreement.

The two institutions were about €6 billion apart when talks ended.

Governments want to limit spending at €140 billion, while MEPs are demanding €146.4 billion, over €4 billion more than the €142.1 billion originally proposed by the commission.

MEPs have also criticised the growing backlog of unpaid bills which, they say, governments agreed to pay, but now do not want to fork out.

In a debate in Strasbourg this week, deputies also expressed frustration at governments’ refusal to use the €4.7 billion collected in assorted EU fines this year to cover part of the unpaid bills.

Deputies say the sum total of outstanding bills has grown from €5 billion in 2010 to €28 billion by the end of 2014, and have conditioned their support for the 2015 spending plans on a parallel deal on the missing money.

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.

Coronavirus

Journalism hit hard by corona crisis

An already fragile business model for journalism might be dealt a lethal blow in the corona crisis. And the freedom of the press itself is coming under extreme pressure, as governments take swift and debilitating measures fighting the pandemic.

Coronavirus

EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies

EU countries reported shortages of ventilators, personal protective equipment and testing kits, but also being victims of fraud. Meanwhile, the European Commission has scaled up its efforts to avoid shortages of ani-virus gear and faulty medical supplies in the EU.

Column

Trying to think straight about coronavirus

Clear-headed thinking becomes nearly impossible under this relentless barrage of bad news and apocalyptic analysis, Ferraris writes - a state of mind he describes as "cogito interruptus".

Analysis

Italy and Spain: worst - or just first?

Italy and Spain, the most-affected countries in the EU, have tightened their response to the coronavirus outbreak - as the pair together now account for more than half of the world's death toll.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Journalism hit hard by corona crisis
  2. EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies
  3. New EU navy operation to keep migrant details secret
  4. MEP: Constituents are our window into this tragedy
  5. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  6. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  7. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough
  8. Trying to think straight about coronavirus

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us