Begroting - 16-12-2005 - 12:12
The European Parliament adopted the EU 2006 budget in Strasbourg after a tough budgetary procedure. The two arms of the budgetary authority were at odds over the ambition of next year's budget. It took two conciliations to finalise a package which set payments at €111.969bn in payments or 1.01% GNI for 2006 as well as special financing arrangements for the EU's external action.
It is important to bear in mind that, were there to be no agreement on the next financial perspective, it is the 2006 budget which would serve as the basis for negotiations to set subsequent annual budgets. This agreed level of 1.01% represents an increase over 2005, for which payments had been set at 1% of GNI. This increase amounts to €5.7 billion versus 2005, or 5.3%.
As Council has the last say on CAP direct payments, Parliament can only regret the cuts made by Council across the board. However MEPs are happy that the " food for poor people " programme has been increased.
The European Commission trimmed its projections for next year in this heading; Parliament and Council therefore agreed not to increase payments as it became clear that the implementation of structural actions in the new Member States had not been as good as expected. The two arms of the budgetary authority agreed that, as with the 2005 budget, it will be possible to find extra funding for structural measures if money runs short in the course of the year.
Council accepted Parliament's request to provide €100 million in extra funding for a range of programmes directly affecting the public which are crucial to the Lisbon strategy: Life, Socrates and programmes for research, small and medium-sized firms, young people and cultural organisations. Part of the reserve placed on the Commission's information budget is lifted after receiving details of the execution in 2005, which MEPs had deemed " unsatisfactory " in first reading.
Also, €9m in commitments are earmarked for the fight against terrorism and the set-up of the Argus general rapid alert system.
Around €275 million is envisaged over and above the ceiling of the current financial perspective for the heading External action via the flexibility instrument (allowing to add funds to the Budget for unforeseen, non-recurring items). This was a major bone of contention at the conciliation between Parliament and Council (with the latter refusing to go above 200 million) but this use of the flexibility instrument will make it possible to finance reconstruction in Iraq and in countries hit by the tsunami of December 2004. It will also help the ACP countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific) affected by the sugar reform and provide more money for the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). These decisions are taken on board in the report by Mr Böge on the mobilisation of the flexibility instrument.
The total funding for the CFSP for 2006 rises to €102.6 million, an increase of 40 million compared to the 2006 preliminary draft budget. Information meetings on CFSP actions between MEPs and ambassadors representing the Council must now be held every three months.
Finally, the resolution also points out Parliament's disappointment with "the Commission's attitude" during the negotiations on the 2006 Budget.
€16m of the Commission's administrative budget have also been put in reserve.