2019 EU Budget: Commission proposes a budget focused on continuity and delivery – for growth, solidarity, security

Oettinger 2019 Budget

Günther Oettinger, Member of the EC in charge of Budget and Human Resources, will held a press conference on the EC’s proposal for the EU budget 2019. © European Union , 2018 / Photo: Thierry Monasse.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

The Commission proposed yesterday the 2019 draft EU Budget of €166 billion in commitments, corresponding to a 3% increase over 2018, investing in a stronger and more resilient European economy and promoting solidarity and security on both sides of the EU’s borders.

This budget is the sixth one under the current 2014-2020 long-term EU budget and operates within the limitations set therein. It is designed to optimise funding for existing programmes as well as new initiatives and to boost European added value in line with the Juncker Commission’s priorities.

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, said “We are proposing an ambitious budget that continues to support our priorities, in particular on investment, jobs, youth, migration, solidarity and security, and that delivers European added value for our citizens. We need stability for the EU and I look forward to reaching an agreement with Parliament and Council as soon as possible.”

The proposal is based on the premise that the United Kingdom, following its withdrawal as of 30 March 2019, will continue to contribute to and participate in the implementation of EU budgets until the end of 2020 as if it were a Member State.

The European Parliament and the European Union Member States will now jointly discuss this proposal. Earlier this month, the Commission put forward its proposal for a pragmatic and modern long-term budget for the 2021-2027 period.

Boosting the European economy

The money specifically for supporting economic growth will total almost €80 billion in commitments in 2019. This includes increases in a number of flagship programmes:

  • €12.5 billion (+8.4% over 2018) for research and innovation under Horizon 2020, including €194 million for a new European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking;
  • €2.6 billion for education under Erasmus+ (+10.4% over 2018);
  • €3.8 billion under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) (+36,4% over 2018) for infrastructure networks;
  • a further €233.3 million for the Youth Employment initiative to support young people living in regions where youth unemployment is high, to be matched with funds from the European Social Fund.

    The Commission expects the 2014-2020 cohesion policy programmes to remain at cruising speed in 2019, after encouraging signals end of last year at €57 billion (+2.8% over 2018) and the funding for agricultural policy to remain stable at almost €60 billion (+1.2% over 2018).

Security within and beyond EU borders

Despite the limitations in the 2014-2020 long-term EU budget, the Commission is using all flexibility in the budget to make sure that migration and border management issues receive specific attention again this year:

  • reform of the common European asylum system to ensure a more efficient, fair and humane asylum policy;
  • new Entry-Exit System to strengthen border management;
  • reinforcing the European Border and Coast Guard, the EU Agency for Asylum, and other agencies which work on border and visa issues;
  • an additional €1.5 billion for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey to continue to provide food, education and housing to those fleeing the wars in Syria and elsewhere (a further €500 million will be provided already under the current 2018 budget, and for this reason the Commission is also proposing to amend the latter);
  • implementation of two major initiatives: the Partnership Framework with non-EU countries under the European Agenda on Migration and the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) to address the root causes of migration.

Supporting new initiatives

In addition to consolidating past efforts, this draft budget also includes support for new initiatives:

  • €103 million for the European Solidarity Corps, creating opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad;
  • €11 million for the creation of the European Labour Authority, which will help to ensure fair labour mobility inside the internal market, and simplify cooperation between national authorities;
  • €40 million for the extension of the Structural Reform Support Programme focusing on implementation of structural reforms in the Member States;
  • €245 million for the set-up of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme to support the European defence industry and move towards a European Defence Union;
  • €150 million to strengthen the response to earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters in Europe through a reserve of civil protection capabilities at EU level, including equipment and teams “rescEU“;
  • €5 million is dedicated to the creation of the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute cross-border crime, including fraud, money laundering and corruption. Further steps will be taken to protect individuals and companies against cyber-attacks.

Background

The draft EU Budget 2019 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 2019 draft EU Budget amounts to €166 billion in commitments (+3% over 2018) and €149 billion in payments (+3% over 2018).

Generally speaking, the EU budget is primarily an investment budget. Amounting to roughly 1% of EU GNI, and representing around 2% of all EU public spending, it aims to complement national budgets and implement priorities which all EU members have agreed upon.

The articles of the draft Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the United Kingdom and the Union negotiators on the financial settlement foresee that the United Kingdom will continue to “contribute to and participate in the implementation of the Union budgets” as if it were a full member during the transitional period[1]. Therefore, the 2019 draft EU budget is presented on this basis.

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