12 Feb 2016
BUDGET GUIDELINES FOR 2017 – 12 FEBRUARYBrussels Daily
The Council underlines that the budget for 2017 should be able to respond to the most urgent needs while continuing to play a key role in the development and delivery of the Union’s objectives and priorities.
The unprecedented and successive crises the EU faced in 2015 in areas such as migration and security have put the Union’s budget under high pressure, showing the need to prioritise objectives in order to adequately react to unforeseen events. The budgetary year 2017, acting as a halfway marker of the current programming period 2014-2020, will likely be exposed to similar constraints and uncertainties.
The budgetary procedure for 2017 will still take place in a context of budget constraints in several Member States. Therefore, the Council emphasises the need to improve the predictability of Member States’ contributions to the Union’s budget. The Council, while recalling the principle of solidarity, considers that the EU budget should seek to boost growth, promote employment and create new jobs, as well as enhancing effective EU cohesion and increasing competitiveness, while maintaining budgetary discipline at all levels.
As such, the Council considers that the right balance between fiscal consolidation and investments to boost growth is needed. This can be achieved especially through the prioritisation of objectives, along with the allocation of available resources to programmes and actions that contribute the most towards achieving these aims. The budget for 2017 should provide the necessary resources to respect commitments already made and to implement the Union’s policy priorities.
The Council invites the Commission to present a budget in line with the aforementioned objectives, including a focus on areas that deliver high EU added value.
Key elements of the budget for 2017
The Council reiterates the need for a realistic budget respecting the principle of sound financial management. The level of both commitment and payment appropriations should be kept under strict control and be based on real needs. The level of payment appropriations should be adequate and reflect the payment profiles of the programmes, including the commitments made during the previous programming period 2007-2013 and with a clear focus on the expected needs for the period 2014-2020.
The Council emphasises that the budget for 2017 and corrective budgetary tools shall strictly respect the relevant ceilings in accordance with the multiannual financial framework (MFF) Regulation for the period 2014-2020. Moreover, the Council reiterates the need to leave sufficient margins under the ceilings in order to be able to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
The Council expects the Commission to make every effort to implement the budget within the allocations agreed in the annual budget, including the recourse to redeployments when appropriate. Corrective budgetary tools, such as amending budgets, should be kept to the strict minimum and in line with the Financial Regulation. The Council invites the Commission to streamline and rationalise the submission of draft amending budgets, thereby ensuring greater predictability within the budget cycle. If corrective measures prove to be necessary, the Council reaffirms its commitment to take a position on draft amending budgets as soon as possible.
The Council urges the Commission to deliver high-quality forecasts concerning both revenue and expenditure in its draft budget and during the whole budgetary process, together with timely, precise and transparent information on the underlying assumptions and budgetary figures. Reliable and accurate forecasts on all sources of revenue and on past and expected implementation are crucial in order to ensure precise implementation and to avoid over-budgeting, as well as unjustified and excessive carry-overs. It also allows the European Parliament and the Council to assess any possible requests for additional appropriations or redeployment of existing resources.
An accurate draft budget is essential to allow Member States to anticipate the level of their contributions to the Union’s budget with a high degree of precision. In this context, the Council calls upon all actors, and notably the Commission, to undertake appropriate measures in order to avoid unexpected calls for additional contributions from the Member States, especially when the impact on national budgets could be high. Read conclusions in full here