The European Union is a step away from adopting a budget that would fund its operations, including external assistance, in 2013.
The Council of the European Union approved Dec. 6 the budget agreement it reached with leaders of the European Parliament. This package sets spending levels for 2013 at €132.84 billion ($171.7 billion) for payments — which is 2.4 percent higher than the 2012 budget — and €150.9 billion for commitments. It also includes an additional €6 billion worth of funding for 2012.
These spending levels are lower than those proposed by the European Commission in the latest draft budget it released in November. The approved levels for external affairs spending are also lower.
While adopting the commission’s proposal for €9.6 billion in commitments for heading 4 (the European Union as a global player), the budget agreement approved by the council only allots €6.3 billion in payments. The commission proposed €7.27 billion. The council did note that the European Commission can request additional money in 2013 if the allocated funds for payments prove insufficient.
This 2013 budget is not yet adopted and final. The entire European Parliament would still have to give its approval for the budget to be enacted. The parliament is expected to vote on Dec. 12.
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