Brussels, 27 March 2013
EU Budget 2013: More funding needed to cover unpaid claims from 2012
An extra EURO 11.2 billion is required for the EU budget to reimburse beneficiaries of EU funded programmes completed across Europe in 2012 as well as to honour the Cohesion Policy claims that will fall due in 2013.
The bulk of the draft amending budget presented by the European Commission today, if agreed in full by the Parliament and Council, will allow all the legal obligations left pending at the end of 2012, as well as those arising before the end of 2013, to be covered in this year's budget. It covers claims from beneficiaries of EU funds (Member States, regions and towns, universities and scientists, NGOs…) for projects completed across Europe; it also includes Member States’ estimates for payments they will expect from the EU this year.
“This cannot come as a surprise, says Commissioner for Financial Planning and Budget Janusz Lewandowski: in recent years, voted EU budget have been increasingly below the real needs based on estimates from Member States; this is creating a snowballing effect of unpaid claims transferred onto the following year. The ostrich policy can only work for so long: postponing payment of a bill will not make it go away. Not one cent of the extra amount we request today is for the EU institutions, it will merely allow the EU to pay its share of infrastructure or science projects that Member States agreed to start in the past. I am confident that the Council and the Parliament will deliver on their commitments to avoid any shortfall in payments and take a swift decision on this proposal.”
The authorised budget for 2013 set the level of payment appropriations at EUR 132.8 billion, EUR 5 billion below the Commission's draft budget and EUR 2.9 billion below the final level of payments in the 2012 budget, creating a very tight situation for payments as from early 2013 and a shortfall in payment earlier than last year. This is largely due to the backlog of payments created at the end of the year 2012 and moved to the 2013 budget.
When adopting the 2013 EU budget last November, the Council and the Parliament issued a joint statement1 acknowledging that the level of payments proposed by the Commission in its 2013 draft budget was based on the assumption that payment needs in 2012 would have been addressed with appropriations available in the 2012 budget. As this was not the case, the statement went on stressing that therefore, the Commission undertakes to present at an early stage in the year 2013 a draft amending budget devoted to the sole purpose of covering the 2012 suspended claims as soon as the suspensions are lifted, and the other pending legal obligations without prejudice to the proper implementation of the 2013 budget. To ensure sound and accurate EU budgeting, the Council and the European Parliament will take position on this draft amending budget as quickly as possible in order to cover any outstanding gap.
While proposing EUR 9 billion of additional payments towards cohesion, the draft amending budget also proposes a further EUR 2.2 billion to cover needs in practically all other areas of the budget, with the exception of administration where no additional requests have been made. This reflects the confirmed higher than expected needs and updated estimates as well as the requirements to deliver on contractual commitments in order to avoid legal or financial consequences for the EU.
The research programmes, for instance, which were heavily cut in the 2013 EU Budget, need a reinforcement of EUR 643.7 million. An additional EUR 126 million is requested for the Lifelong learning and Erasmus programmes which support education and training. If the shortfall of payments persists, universities and colleges are likely either to reduce the number of places they make available or reduce the level of grants - which may mean that students from more disadvantaged backgrounds will not able to take part in the scheme. Another EUR 460 million is needed to cover the expenditure to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and to protect our environment through the rural development programmes.
This draft amending budget also covers an increase in revenue of EUR 290 million from fines and penalties.
Draft Amending Budget 2 (DAB 2) per heading, in EUR million
For more information
Draft Amending Budget 2
Joint declaration of the Council and the European Parliament on 2012 payments
Website of Commissioner Lewandowski:
The joint statements:
Draft Amending Budget 1 (on Croatia joining the EU): http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/lewandowski/headlines/index_en.htm?id=201303181200