On 20 April 2011 the European Commission adopted its first draft budget for 2012. This budget, which totals €132.7 billion in payments, aims to help boost the European economy and support its citizens.
The amount is a 4.9% increase on the 2011 budget, a fact which is not likely to go unnoticed by national governments. The disagreements over the increase in the last budget will still be fresh in the minds of those who argued strongly that the Commission’s proposed near-6% increase was not appropriate in light of the austerity measures in place across many EU countries. The budget increase was eventually capped at 2.9%, following a lengthy period of negotiations.
The current budget has been described as a ’delicate balancing act’ between growth and austerity, perhaps in an attempt to head off the same criticism as last year. The administrative expenditure has been frozen and there are reductions in expenditure for programmes that have been identified as not performing, both of which will please critics.
The European Council will have its say on the draft budget in June, followed by the European Parliament in October. So it is a while yet before the final number will be agreed upon, but the negotiations alone are likely to make the headlines in the meantime.
Further information on the budget can be found here : http://ec.europa.eu/budget/index_en.cfm