The European Commission has today adopted a new draft EU budget for 2015 after negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council (the EU Member States) did not result in an agreement at the end of the budgetary conciliation period on 17 November. The new draft budget for 2015 foresees €145.2 billion in commitments (+1.8% on 2014) and €141.3 billion in payments (+0.7% on 2014). The proposal has been transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council and with a view to continuing negotiations early next week.
"Our new budget proposal takes into account the views of the European Parliament and the Council, thus providing a sound basis for the renewal of negotiations", said Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources. "It will hopefully pave the way for agreement on the 2015 EU budget and on the pending draft amending budgets for 2014, which we have proposed to help tackle the growing problem of unpaid bills. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is not a budget for Brussels. Businesses, researchers, students, NGOs as well as towns and regions across the EU await the outcome of these talks, in order to have access to much needed funding. The Commission as an honest broker in these discussions will do everything in its power to provide Europe with a budget that serves our half a billion EU citizens."
The talks will cover the 2015 budget proposal, but also Draft Amending Budgets (DABs) for 2014. The Commission proposed the DABs for 2014 to cover legal obligations in research and innovation, education and support for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as unusually high reimbursement claims from Member States in cohesion policy. This would come at no extra cost to national budgets, because of unexpected revenue, mostly from competition fines.
The proposal for a new Draft Budget 2015 is focused on supporting in particular those policies in favour of competitiveness and economic convergence, thus contributing to growth and jobs, as well as those budget lines which allow Europe to address crises especially in its neighbourhood.
The procedure regarding the EU budget is as follows: first the Commission presents the draft budget (done on 11 June this year); then the Council reacts; then the Parliament reacts. If the Council cannot agree to the Parliament's position, a 21-day conciliation procedure follows to find a compromise between the two institutions. If the conciliation procedure fails, as happened in 2010, 2012 and this year, the Commission must present a new draft budget, which it is doing today. The College of Commissioners empowered Vice-President Georgieva to adopt the new draft budget.
Today's proposal will be followed by meetings between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission ("trilogues") to seek to reach an agreement in time for the European Parliament to formally adopt the 2015 EU budget at its last plenary session of the year.
In case of no agreement by 31 December 2014, from 1 January 2015 the EU would operate under the system of the “provisional twelfth”. In short, the budget appropriations for each chapter of the budget would be funded monthly by one twelfth of its 2014 budget or the relevant amount in the 2015 draft budget, whichever is less. The system of twelfths would have consequences for the perception of the ability of the EU to act. In particular, it would put on hold any new initiative or body that didn't have a budget for 2014.