The European Commission has proposed a €166bn budget for 2019 which seeks to reinforce border security commitments, boost economic growth and support new initiatives.
The draft budget proposal is the sixth under the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020, and is designed to optimise funding for existing programmes, while also supporting new European Commission priorities. The 2019 proposal includes additional commitments to education, support for refugees, and funding to reinforce border security commitments, both externally and within the EU.
The proposal contains an additional €2.6bn for the Erasmus+ programme, to support the EU’s renewed commitment to education and cultural heritage, and also proposes €3.8bn for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a 36.4% increase over funding in 2018. The CEF develops infrastructure networks between member states, improving transport links and promoting cohesion.
What new initiatives will receive funding?
Among the new initiatives supported by the budget proposal are a new entry-exit system to reinforce border security commitments at the EU’s external borders, while reforms to the common European asylum system and the European Fund for Sustainable Development will seek to address root causes of migration and ensure the bloc’s asylum policy is more efficient and fair.
Other funding allocations for new initiatives include €150m for the creation of a reserve of civil protection capabilities at EU level, designed to strengthen the response to earthquakes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
What has the commission said?
European Commissioner for the Budget, Günther Oettinger, hailed the ambition of the new budget proposal, and welcomed its focus on establishing a future direction for the European Union.
He explained: “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 assumes that the UK will continue to contribute funding to the EU budget following its withdrawal from the bloc in March 2019 throughout a proposed Brexit transition period, which is expected to last until December 2020.