The European Commission has presented the draft budget of 2017 at the European Parliament, in respect to the result of the UK referendum that took place just a week ago. “Τhis draft budget has been prepared accordingly,” reads the budget draft that got released on Thursday afternoon.
However, EU officials claim that even if the budget draft was tabled with great delay – over a month, as the budget is regularly tabled in May, this delay is just a result of the overal complexity and not of the UK referendum.The EU complements national budgets, representing a 1% of EU-GNI and the 2% of EU’s public spending.
European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, in charge of budget and human resources, said that as the EU is facing massive challenges and in these difficult times, “a focused and effective EU budget is not a luxury but a necessity. It helps buffer against shocks, providing a boost to our economy and helping to deal with issues like the refugee crisis. As always, we continue to focus our budget on results, making sure that every euro from the EU budget is well spent,” while tabling the draft in the European Parliament.
The budget’s priorities reflect the EU Commission’s priorities that are to be founded at its third year, with the maximum possible contributions to jobs, growth and investment, but also funding at a great extend the European response to migration management, aiding the member states to their struggle proper manage migration flows. The third priority is security and the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
The EU budget makes use of the existing room for flexibility, with respect to the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF). Appropriations proposed in the draft budget are set at 157,7 billion (1,7 % compared to the 2016 budget) in commitments, and 134,9 billion (-6,2 %) in payments, corresponding to 1,05 % and 0,90 % of EU GNI, respectively.
A 4,88% increase in commitment appropriations is a result of the re-programming of the 2014 annual tranche of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, and the Internal Security Fund.
The cost of the EU response to manage migration flows
The effective management of the migration challenge has been at the top of the Commission’s agenda in the past two years, and reached for the actions already undertaken in 2015 and 2016 a combined total of over €10,5 billion. As for the 2017, a total of €5.2 billion of specific migration-related expenditure for both internal and external actions is calculated by the EU Commission.
Security and citizenship sector is expected to receive a greater amount than what was initially programmed, reaching €1,8 billion for 2016. In order to finance emergency assistance, relocation, resettlement, return and integration of refugees and asylum-seekers, the EU Commission proposes the mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument, and the Contingency Margin, in order to finance those actions.
The prediction for 2017 that is included at the draft budget, suggests that the new asylum projects that are to be launvhed and the EU – Turkey statement implementation, mean greater cost for the EU budget.
The proposal to review the Dublin common asylum system; the Commission’s proposal for a new Entry-Exit border management system; the European Border and Coast Guard; Eurodac’s relaunch; the new EU asylum agency and € 200 million for the new emergency humanitarian aid instrument of the EU member states, are only some of the newly launched actions that are to be funded in 2017.
As for the third countries cooperation to tackle migration, besides the implementation of programmes such as the Development Cooperation Instrument and the focus of actions in specific regions via the recently created Trust Fund for Africa, €750 million are reserved, in order to reach the €1 of the 3 billion contribution agreed for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, for the years 2016 – 2017. Furthermore, a reorientation of funds within and between instruments, is proposed by the EU Commission.
The remaining €2 billion, will be gathered through member states contributions, but also from Trust Fund mobilised donors.