On 4 September 2015, the Council adopted by unanimity its position on the draft 2016 EU budget. This confirms a political agreement reached by the Permanent Representatives Committee in July.
The Council's position constitutes the basis on which the European Parliament will decide by the end of October whether it adopts amendments. In this case, the Council's position will serve as a mandate to the Luxembourg presidency for subsequent negotiations with the Parliament.
"I am pleased that today the Council formally adopted its position on the draft EU budget for 2016. The unanimous support provides the presidency with a particularly strong mandate for the negotiations with the European Parliament in the autumn which we wish to hold in a spirit of loyalty and good inter-institutional cooperation. The current economic situation requires resources to be focused on jobs, investments and growth while respecting budgetary discipline and sound financial management. I am convinced that the Council's position strikes the right balance between Europe's priority investment needs and member states' economic and budgetary constraints", said Pierre Gramegna, minister for Finance of Luxembourg and President of the Council.
The Council's position provides for €153.27 billion in commitments and €142.12 billion in payments. Taking into account both past implementation rates and likely future absorption capacities, these are realistic amounts which will allow for proper policy implementation and allow the EU to ensure adequate financing of its priority areas. These include measures to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and manage migratory flows. The Council's position reflects the payment plan agreed with the Parliament on the phasing out of outstanding payment claims for the 2007-2013 cohesion programmes. And it respects the deal reached with the Parliament on the European fund for strategic investments.
The policy areas with the largest payment increases compared to the 2015 EU budget (as amended) include external policy (+22.4%), action in the area of security and citizenship, including migration (+15.4%) as well as research and other measures aimed at increasing competitiveness (+8.6%).
The Council's position foresees a reduction of €563.6 million in commitments and €1.4 billion in payments compared with the Commission's original proposal. This shows that the Council is determined to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on member state budgets at a time of fiscal consolidation. At the same time it means that the EU will have sufficient margin within the budget to react to unforeseen events and needs.
A summary of the Council's position is set out in the table below:
|Appropriations by heading||billion €|
1. Smart and inclusive growth:
a) Competitiveness for growth and jobs
b) Economic, social and territorial cohesion
2. Sustainable growth: natural resources:
of which market related expenditure and direct payments
|3. Security and citizenship:||2.6||2.2|
|4. Global Europe:||8.7||9.1|
|5. Administrative expenditure (for all EU institutions):||8.9||8.9|
|In % of EU-28 GNI||1.04||0.97|
If the European Parliament adopts amendments to the Council's position, a three-week conciliation period will start on 29 October 2015. The aim of this conciliation process is to arrive at a joint position of both institutions on the budget. This should happen by 18 November 2015 at the latest.