The budget consists of:
The vast majority – 95% of the EU budget – goes to fund concrete activities on the ground in the many areas of EU policy. This expenditure ("operational appropriations") is paid out by the Commission (Section III).
However, section III also includes a small amount of administrative expenditure necessary for the Commission to function.
All the other sections of the budget deal solely with the administrative expenditure of the institutions.
The Commission budget is structured in titles, chapters, articles and items. Each policy area corresponds to a title (e.g. 'Research and innovation policy area' corresponds to 'title 08') under the responsibility of a Commission's Directorate General (DG). The first chapter 01 of each title covers administrative expenditure while the others concerns operational expenditure.
Spending programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, etc.) are closely related to the headings in the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 and are placed within operational chapters of the responsible DG. The budget lines at the level of articles and items indicate the general and specific objectives pursued by the programme (see example below):
This structure gives a transparent overview on the budget allocations to each policy area and indicates the link between objectives and financial resources.