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EU budget for 2017: Council sets out its position

The Council's main objective is to ensure that the limited financial resources available are directed towards the EU's top priorities.  These are measures to address the migration crisis & its root causes, and actions to boost Europe's economy and create jobs. 

Overall the Council's aim is to secure a sustainable and effective budget at a time of continuing budgetary constraint.

"I believe that the Council's position reflects a balanced approach that makes the most effective use of the EU budget under the current circumstances and constraints. It targets the available financial resources on our current priorities, provides  enough financial leeway to react to unforeseen needs and avoids unnecessary burdens on member states' national budgets by striving to match the budget  to actual needs. I am confident that together with the European Parliament we can work towards securing a sustainable budget", said Vazil Hudák, chief negotiator for the EU budget of the Slovak Presidency of the Council.

Top priorities

The Council accepted all the figures put forward by the Commission for tackling the migration crisis. Heading 3 (security and citizenship) therefore benefits from an increase of 4.9% in commitments and 24.4% in payments compared to 2016. The Council also approved the figures proposed by the Commission within heading 4 (global Europe) for migration-related measures, such as the fight against the root causes of migration. The Council also agreed to the figures for humanitarian aid.

To help boost economic growth  and create new jobs the Council approved an increase in the  resources available under sub-heading 1a (competitiveness for growth and jobs) by almost 9% in both commitments and payments compared to 2016. This covers  instruments such as the European fund for strategic investments, the EU programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and Erasmus +.

Cautious reductions

Aside from these top priorities the Council identified a number of areas where it reduced the increases proposed by the Commission. This is particularly the case for budget lines where, on the basis of a technical analysis, the Council concluded that the Commission has over-estimated the actual needs. However those programmes which are performing well or starting to deliver are generally protected.

The Council also  scrutinized very carefully all administrative expenditure. It called on the other EU institutions to make every effort to reduce their staff by 5% by 2017 as  agreed in 2013.

A summary of the Council's position is set out in the table below:

  Description 1 2 2/1
Budget 2016
(AB No 1 to 2/2016 incl.)
Council position on DB 2017 Difference
c/a p/a c/a p/a c/a p/a
1 Smart and inclusive growth 69.8 66.3 74.3 56.1 +6,36% -15,31%
1.a Competitiveness for growth and jobs 19.0 17.4 20.7 19.0 +8,95% +8,89%
1.b Economic, social and territorial cohesion 50.8 48.8 53.6 37.1 +5,39% -23,94%
2 Sustainable growth: natural resources 62.5 55.1 58.7 55.0 -6,02% -0,15%
3 Security and citizenship 4.1 3.0 4.2 3.8 +4,84% +24,42%
4 Global Europe 9.2 10.2 9.3 9.2 +1,74% -9,22%
5 Administration 8.9 8.9 9.3 9.3 +3,67% +3,70%
MFF headings 154.5 143.5 155.8 133.4 +0,88% -7,04%
Emergency aid reserve 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 +1,94% +1,94%
European globalisation adjustment fund 0.2 0.03 0.2 0.03 +2,00% -16,67%
European Union solidarity fund 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05 +0,00% +0,00%
Special instruments 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.4 +1,78% +0,26%
Total appropriations 155.0 143.9 156.4 133.8 +0,89% -7,02%

in billion €; c/a: commitments, p/a: payments, AB: amending budget, DB: draft budget

Next steps

If the European Parliament adopts amendments to the Council's position by 27 October, a three-week conciliation period will start on 28 October 2016. The aim of this conciliation process is to reach a joint position of both institutions on the budget. This should happen by 17 November 2016 at the latest.

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