Brussels, 28 September 2010
Financial Report 2009: How the EU spent its budget
The 2009 financial report presented by the Commission today shows that 97% of appropriations were spent, a similar percentage as in 2008 (98%). Overall expenditure amounted to over €112 billion. The bulk of this sum went to measures to boost economic growth, employment and research and development, as well as on agriculture.
€44 billion invested in growth and competitiveness
In 2009, the EU spent €6.3 billion within the 7th framework programme for research and technology. EU funds supported over 1,000 research cooperation projects such as the 'Fuel-Path' project on efficient biofuel production; the aim of this project is to find ways to improve biofuel production and help ensure at least 14% of bio-energy in EU's energy mix by 2020.
Under the Competitiveness and innovation Programme over 34,000 small and medium enterprises benefited from EU funds. These funds helped them leverage €2.9 billion in loans for an EU financing of €295 million. It is estimated that the EU funding helped create or save over 200,000 jobs between 2007 and 2008. Furthermore, the Erasmus programme financed over 300,000 mobility grants involving 4,000 universities.
The share of cohesion policy in the budget remained high. Payments under the 2007-2013 framework amounted to €25.5 billion, more than twice as much as in 2008 (€11.5 billion). In the 2000-2006 period, cohesion policy funding created around 1 million jobs, helped build or improve 4,000km of railways and brought water supply to 14 million more people. Among the numerous projects funded in 2009, the “Baltic Master II” project focuses on improving the response capacity in the Baltic Sea area to oil spills and on enhancing the prevention of pollution from maritime transport.
Over 30% of the 2009 budget was dedicated to economic recovery and growth, says EU Commissioner for budget Janusz Lewandowski. Every euro we invest in our regions can generate twice or three times as much through the "leverage effect". This is where the EU budget makes a real difference on the ground.
Over €40 billion towards rural areas, over 100,000 young people involved in projects and exchanges
After years of increasing income, EU farmers have seen their revenue fall because of changing market conditions. The EU budget supports them with over €40 billion in direct aids and market interventions, accounting for almost half of farmers' income.
Developing and protecting EU citizens' rights and opportunities is an increasing focus of the EU budget. In 2009 110,000 young people participated in projects and exchanges. The EU also came to the aid of five Member States in need of fire fighting equipment, and provided antiviral drugs to Bulgaria. The Solidarity Fund provided €623 million to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, in particular in the wake of the earthquake in Southern Italy.
More than €10 billion spent on external actions
In 2009, the EU was the second largest provider of development aid in the world, with commitments amounting to €12 billion and reaching around 140 developing countries. Specific instruments were set up to help the world's poorest to face the triple economic food and environmental crisis.
EU humanitarian aid and food assistance helped over 150 million people in 70 countries in 2009. Moreover, in the framework of the Common foreign and security policy, the EU managed 10 missions in hotspots across the world, such as Kosovo, Southern Caucasus, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa. Specific funding is dedicated to preparing candidate and potential candidate countries meet the EU membership conditions.
One of the biggest recipients of external aid is Sudan (115 million). 3.6 million people benefited from food assistance in Darfur and 436 000 in South Sudan, whereas more than 5 million people benefited from health care and 1.3 million beneficiaries were reached by water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
More and more the EU is asked to intervene beyond its borders, whether in times of conflicts or natural disasters, says Janusz Lewandowski. We have had to adjust the financial framework four times in recent years compared to never over the previous twenty years or so, which shows the need for more flexibility for tomorrow's EU budget.
€ 7.4 billion on administration
Administrations costs for all institutions represented €7.4 billion, 6.5% of total expenditure, a similar percentage to 2008 (6.2%). In 2009, as in 2010, the Commission stuck to its promise not to request any new posts in future years except in case of accession of new Members, states Commissioner Lewandowski.
EU budget financed mainly through Member State GNI contributions
Nearly 70% of the EU budget is financed from the Member States' budgets according to their relative Gross national income (GNI). Financing from VAT continues to fall over the years, representing less than 11% in 2009, with traditional own resources (mainly customs duties) representing just over 12%. The surplus from the previous year and other revenue represent 7.5%.