The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union under the leadership of Estonia reached an agreement in the night from Friday to Saturday on an EU budget for 2018, which according to the Estonian Finance Ministry is one of the biggest achievements of the Estonian EU presidency.
"Reaching an agreement on the 2018 EU budget is definitely one of the biggest achievements of the Estonian presidency. Months of work paid off and we reached a result, which will definitely help move the European Union forward," Mart Kivine, Estonian deputy finance minister and chief negotiator for the 2018 EU budget, said. He added that the agreement in question is an example of how the good will of institutions to cooperate ensures success.
"The agreed budget is based on the EU's political priorities and takes into account the capability of member states to utilize the resources. In addition, enough reserves have been left to react to the changing environment," Kivine was quoted by ministry spokespeople as saying.
The budget of the European Union for next year is €160.1 billion. The budget focuses on priorities such as boosting economic growth and job creation, strengthening security and addressing the challenges posed by migration. Compared to the current year, the budget will include an increase in the EU's funding of its research and development program Horizon 2020 by 8.4 percent and, and an increase in the budget of the Connecting Europe Facility for cross-border infrastructure projects by 8 percent.
Payments to member states from structural and investment funds will increase drastically. While expenditure responsibilities next year will increase by only 0.2 percent compared to the current year, payments are to rise by 14 percent to €144.7 billion.
The conciliation meeting of the Council of the European Union and European Parliament concerning the 2018 EU budget lasted for a total of 18 hours. Estonia as the presidency of the Council of the European Union led the whole budget process and conciliation meeting.
Editor: Dario Cavegn