|Also have a look at the EP infographics on the EU budget :EU budget explained: expenditure and contribution by member state|
Written by Alessandro D’Alfonso
Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the procedure to adopt the EU’s annual budget provides for a single reading and specific deadlines for each of the key institutional actors involved in it: the European Parliament (EP), the Council and the Commission.
This year’s budgetary procedure has seen difficult negotiations between the EP and the Council, the two arms of the budgetary authority, in relation not only to the 2015 budget but also to amendments to the 2014 budget. A major stumbling block was the growing backlog in payments that has affected the EU budget in recent years. On the one hand, the Council wanted to cut the Commission’s estimates, based on legal commitments into which the EU has entered, of the resources needed. On the other, the EP supported stepping up efforts to tackle the payments backlog, to reduce its negative consequences on beneficiaries of EU funds.
In December 2014, Parliament and Council’s negotiators reached a compromise, which now needs to be confirmed by both institutions to be applicable. The deal includes extra payment appropriations of some €3.5 billion for the 2014 budget; 2015 payment appropriations set at €141.21 billion (or 1.01% of EU GNI), an amount closer to the Commission’s initial proposal than to the Council’s position; the establishment of a payment plan to reduce the level of unpaid bills; and close inter-institutional monitoring of payment implementation and forecasts in 2015.
Should the EP and the Council not adopt the 2015 budget by the end of the year, a stop-gap system (‘provisional twelfths’) would apply from 1 January. This would have a series of implications, including fewer resources available for payments.