PositionEuropean Union - Brief Article

If the plenary approves the Budgets Committee's recommendations, the total for the EU Budget will be Euro 100.34 billion in commitment appropriations (CA) and Euro 100.084 billion in payment appropriations (PA). At its first reading the Council had proposed 99.548 billion in CA and 96.992 billion in PA, compared to the figures in the Commission's Preliminary Draft Budget (PDB) of 99.99 billion in CA and 98.207 billion in PA.

Agriculture (heading 1).

The Committee is proposing 40.6 billion for market expenditure (subheading 1a) and 4.718 billion for rural development and accompanying measures (subheading 1b); this leaves a margin of 2.059 billion within heading 1. Among agricultural guidance measures, the Committee wants in particular to promote animal welfare and to allocate funding to convert tobacco farms to other crops.

Structural Operations (heading 2).

Once again, there is a problem regarding the payment appropriations for heading 2. While the overall figure for commitments keeps to the level laid down in the financial perspective, i.e. 33.968 billion, the Council has cut the figure for payments by around 525 million leaving a total of 33.013 billion. The Budgets Committee's response is to increase the payment appropriations for the Structural Funds, arguing that full use must be made of these Funds and that the way they operate must be simplified. It also points out that a way must be found to finance the outstanding commitments of Euro 27 million for the programme to restructure the EU's fishing fleet that used to operate in Moroccan waters. For this, the Committee does not rule out the use of the flexibility instrument.

Internal Policies (heading 3).

Here the Budgets Committee increases most of the figures in the Commission's Preliminary Draft Budget. It suggests 6.793 billion in commitments and 6.233 billion in payments, leaving a margin of 2.681 million in this heading. In addition, 50% of the funding for the decentralised EU agencies has been placed in reserve pending final agreement on where these bodies are to be located.

External Action (heading 4).

Heading 4 is at the centre of the institutional concerns this year. In its draft resolution the Committee...

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