“To continue supporting EU’s priorities- jobs, growth, young people, climate change, security and solidarity- and prepare the transition to the next budgetary cycle.” Günther H. Oettinger (in the photo, during a break), European Commissioner for Budget, illustrated the guidelines of the EU budget for 2020, whose scheme will be then proposed to the budgetary authorities – Parliament and EU Council – for approval. It is the seventh and last budget under the current 2014-2020 long-term EU budget. For the Commission, “it is designed to optimise funding for existing programmes as well as new initiatives and to boost the European added value in line with the Juncker Commission’s priorities.”
Areas of action. The budget is an indispensable tool to identify the European Union’s political priorities, the areas where more investment is needed, and the programmes that meet citizens’ needs. As always, the draft budget is drawn up by the Commission to give enough time to Parliament and Commission to reach an agreement by November-December and ensure its adoption by January next, with appropriations covering EU policies which range – according to the competences demarcated in the Treaties – from research to environment protection, from security to trade, from competition to support to SMEs, from agriculture and fisheries to public health and consumer protection, up to civil protection in EU member States and humanitarian assistance in Third Countries.
Climate and environment. According to the Commission’s proposal, “the money under the 2020 budget will go to the following priority areas: competitive economy and young people; strengthening security and solidarity in the EU; climate change and beyond.” 21% of the overall proposed budget for 2020 will go to tackle climate change. In technical terms, the draft 2020 EU budget includes two amounts for each programme to be financed – commitments and payments. “Commitments” refers to the funding that can be agreed in contracts in a given year; “payments” to the money actually paid out. The proposed 2020 EU budget amounts to €168.3 billion in commitments (+1.3% compared to 2019) and €153.7 billion in payments (+3.5% compared to 2019). The 2020 budget and the long-term budget (2021-2027) will be negotiated in parallel between the Member States and the newly elected European Parliament. As always, national governments will try to reduce the scale of the budget, most of which is formed by financial transfers from Member States according to population size and GDP.
Erasmus+, Galileo. The items of the Commission’s budget proposal include more than €83 billion in commitments to boost economic growth, European regions and support young people. Of this amount €13.2 billion go to research and innovation across Europe under Horizon 2020; €2.8 billion are for education under Erasmus+; €117 million for the Youth Employment Initiative; €1.2 billion (+75% compared to 2019) for Europe’s own global satellite navigation system Galileo; €255 million for the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).
Civil protection. Central administrative costs of the EU 2020 budget make up around 6% of the budget (amounting to roughly 1% of EU GNI), the remaining 94% is spent in investment that goes back to Member States in the form of funding. Notably, €420.6 million are investments for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency; €156.2 million for the new rescEU programme, “an upgrade of the existing Civil Protection Mechanism to better respond to earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters”; €560 million for people in need inside Syria as well as refugees and their host communities in the region.”