As far as payments are concerned, in 2021 their level is 1.2 % higher than in 2020. Unusually, it is also 1.1 % higher than the level of commitment appropriations. This reflects the particular transitional nature of the financial year 2021, which includes the amounts needed to start and pre-finance programmes under the new MFF, but also has to provide payments to meet needs linked to the closure of the 2014-2020 period. It had the biggest effect on spending under subheading 2a Economic, social and territorial cohesion (see Figure 9). As in recent years, in the joint declarations attached to the budgetary agreement, the budgetary authority recalled the need for close monitoring of the implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes and assessment of the progression of payments. It concerns, in particular, spending under sub-heading 2a Economic, social and territorial cohesion, and spending on rural development under heading 3 Natural resources and environment. Should the payment appropriations entered in the 2021 budget be insufficient to cover the estimated needs, the Commission is expected to present an appropriate solution as a matter of urgency to allow the budgetary authority to take the necessary decisions.
Figure 9 – A comparison of EU budgets in 2020* and 2021 (commitment and payment appropriations, € billion)
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