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EU summit: leaders resume talks on specifics of spending

By Andrew Gardner  -  08.02.2013 / 13:42 CET
Disagreement on budget headings could yet undo deal on overall budget size struck Friday morning.
The leaders of the European Union's member states are resuming their negotiations, suspended this morning (8 February), on the Union's long-term budget.  

For the first time in EU history, the next budget, for 2014-20, is set to shrink compared to the previous cycle (2007-13).  

In the early hours of this morning, they had agreed on an overall headline figure of €960 billion in commitments (the amount available to be pledged for future spending) and €908.4bn in payments.  

The low ceiling for payments – the actual cash transfers to pay for EU policies and administration – is certain to provoke skepticism or outright anger from the European Parliament, whose consent is required for any deal struck today to take effect.   

Bilateral meetings resumed around 1pm today, with a first plenary session scheduled at 2.30pm to discuss the specifics of proposed spending – an issue that for many of them is more important than the headline figures.  

© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.
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Fact file

Here is the state of the budget headings under the draft presented this morning by Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council:  

Total size: €960bn in commitments. Going into the budget summit in November, the proposal was €972bn. Actual payments will be €908.4bn.  

Heading 1a: “Competitiveness for growth and jobs”: Overall figure is €125.7bn. It was €152.5bn in November.  

Heading 1b: “Economic, social and territorial cohesion” (Cohesion Policy): The figure is now €324.7bn. It was €320.  

Heading 2: “Sustainable growth: Natural resources”, including agriculture, fisheries, rural development. Was €373.5bn, now €372.2bn.  

Heading 3: “Security and citizenship”, including immigration policy, health, consumer protection, and youth programmes: Was €16.7bn, now €15.7bn.  
Heading 4 – “Global Europe”, including foreign policy, development aid):  Was €60.7bn, now €58.8bn.  

Heading 5: “Administration”: Cut from €62.63bn to €61.63bn. Also, staff cuts of 5% over five years, change to pensions, solidarity level of 6%.   Some figures for specific projects and items of particular interest to individual countries:  

Rebates:

UK: no change in the mechanism (specific figure not given).
Denmark: €130m per year. No rebate previously.
Netherlands: was €1.15bn, now €650m.
Sweden: was €325m, now €160m.  

Infrastructure and research projects: Galileo, global satellite-based navigation system: Was €6.6bn, now €6.3bn.
Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) monitoring system: Was €4.9bn, now €3.8bn.
ITER, nuclear research project: €2.7bn, the figure it was before.

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