Fabian Demicoli

The EU’s budget for 2014-2020: towards the Europe 2020 goals


The EU's long-term budget (also known
as Multi-Annual Financial Framework – MFF), agreed by the European Council on 8
February 2013 translates the EU priorities into financial terms. The deal
foresees a possible expenditure capped at €960 billion for 2014-2020.

The European Commission's original
proposal, presented in June 2011 (€1025 billion) would have represented an
increase of around 3% over the current financial envelope. The Commission's
proposal aimed at a budget designed to drive the Europe 2020 strategy towards
smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Commission's proposal is
innovative in terms of the quality of its spending proposals and also in terms
of easing the direct impact of funding on national budgets. It also seeks to
support the structured approach set out in the European Semester of economic
policy coordination.

The main new elements in the MFF
include:

A
Common Strategic Framework for research, innovation and technological development:
in addressing the EU's innovation gap, the Commission proposed future funding
be based on areas that are firmly anchored in the Europe 2020 strategy. A
common strategic framework (Horizon 2020) will eliminate fragmentation and
ensure more coherence

Sustainable
growth and employment: Cohesion policy is key to the achievement of the Europe
2020 objectives and targets.

Connecting
Europe Facility: funding of pre-identified transport, energy and ICT priority
infrastructural projects of EU interest, hereby further unlocking the Single
Market's potential by equipping it with the infrastructure to accelerate
development across borders

A
resource-efficient Common Agricultural Policy: the Commission's proposal makes
the Common Agricultural Policy more resource efficient, so that it not only
delivers food security but also helps to manage the environment and fight
climate change.

Investing
in human capital: the Commission's proposal rationalises and simplifies the
current programmes and instruments by proposing a single, integrated programme
on education, training and youth. The focus is on developing the skills and
mobility of human capital.

Although the levels agreed by the
European Council are below what the Commission considers desirable given the
challenge of promoting growth and jobs across the EU in the coming years, the
agreement can still be an important catalyst for growth and jobs. In
particular, the deal preserves the basic structure of the Commission's proposal
and some innovative instruments. Investment in some areas such as research and
innovation, 'Erasmus For All', and new programmes for SMEs, will be
significantly higher. An agreement on a new and very important Youth Employment
Initiative – a powerful signal of solidarity and added value at European level
– has been secured.

The Lisbon Treaty provides that the
adoption of the

MFF requires the consent of the
European Parliament.

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