Initial deal on EU 2013 budget reached

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy at the budget summit two weeks ago. Negotiations for the European Union’s 2013 and next multiannual budgets both hit a deadlock. But discussions over the 2013 budget are once again moving, with key votes set over the next few days. Photo by: © European Union 2012 – European Parliament / CC BY-NC-ND

Three weeks after falling into gridlock, negotiations for the European Union’s 2013 budget are once again moving, with key votes set over the next few days.

Representatives of the European Commission, the parliament and the Council of the European Union agreed Nov. 30 on a “draft package” that sets EU spending for 2013 at €150.9 billion ($196.6 billion) in commitments and €132.8 billion in payments, according to European Voice.

The new spending levels are lower than those proposed by the European Commission in its latest draft of the budget, which, despite more generous funding for external spending, a number of aid groups have described as a “worrying sign” for development and humanitarian aid. 

The draft package also includes €6 billion in additional financing to cover payment shortfalls in the 2012 budget, including for humanitarian aid and the European neighborhood policy instrument. The figure, however, is lower than the €9 billion in additional funds sought by parliament.

The draft package agreement is now set to be considered by leaders of the political parties that comprise the European Parliament, according to the European Voice. It would then be presented for approval by the parliament’s budget committees on Dec. 4.

If the budget committee endorses the agreement, the Council of the European Union will convene Dec. 6 to formally approve the deal and adopt a formal position on the budget. The full European Parliament would then vote on the budget on Dec. 13, the last day of the last plenary session for the year.

If no budget deal is approved on Dec. 13, the so-called “provisional twelfths” scheme would take effect. This means “a sum equivalent to not more than one twelfth of the budget appropriations for 2012 or of the draft budget proposed by the Commission, whichever is smaller,” would be allocated for each month of 2013.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.