2019 EU budget: no agreement reached

2019 EU budget
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The European Parliament and European Council have acknowledged they were unable to reach a final deal on the 2019 EU budget by the end of the conciliation period yesterday.

The Council and the Parliament, the two arms of the EU’s budgetary authority, could not agree on a number of aspects of the draft 2019 EU budget by the official deadline of midnight yesterday. While Parliament negotiators advocated for the reuse of unspent funds for research projects, Council representatives were concerned about the precedent this could possibly set; meanwhile Parliament raised separate concerns about the €2 billion funding allocated by the draft budget to refugees in Turkey.

Diplomats familiar with negotiations said the majority of the Council’s representatives had been “prepared to come very close” to Parliament’s parameters on the 2019 EU budget, but that Parliament negotiators had left the meeting before an agreement could be reached.

Jean Arthuis, Chair of the Committee on Budgets, said: “Everyone has made commendable efforts to reconcile the respective positions of Parliament and Council. We were unable to do so because of the Council’s reservation on the possibility of reallocating unused research funds from 2017 to complement the Horizon 2020 research programme for 2019. The parties have agreed to continue the dialogue in the coming weeks in order to achieve the best possible [2019 EU budget] that meets the expectations of Europeans in 2019 – in the fields of research to prepare for the future, Erasmus+, the Youth Employment Initiative, support for SMEs [small to medium enterprises] and tackling migration.”

The European Commission will table a new draft 2019 EU budget by the end of the month. If a formalised budget is not agreed on by the end of 2018, the EU will adopt a “provisional twelves” system in 2019, whereby monthly spending is capped at a twelfth of the previous year’s annual budget.

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