The EU budget for 2016 has been adopted. One day after the Council, the European Parliament confirmed the deal reached during the Conciliation earlier this month. Next year's budget is set at EUR 155 billion in commitments and EUR 144 billion in payments.
The 2016 budget will significantly strengthen the EU response to the refugee crisis both within and outside the EU. More money will go to aid for refugees in our neighbourhood. It will also boost investment in competitiveness, jobs and growth, supporting the recovery of the European economy.
Every year in spring the European Commission tables a draft EU budget. This year, the Commission tabled its initial proposal on 27 May 2015 and amended it twice since: first on 26 June 2015 to reflect the agreement on EFSI and then on 14 October 2015 to increase the support for EU farmers and refugees.
On that basis, the European Parliament and the Council each take a position. This year, the Council prepared its position in July and formally adopted it on 4 September 2015, while the European Parliament adopted its position on 28 October 2015.
When there are differences between the positions of the European Parliament and the Council, they engage in a negotiation process known as the 'conciliation procedure'.
The negotiations are conducted by a specially convened Conciliation Committee, to which the European Parliament and the Council each send 28 representatives. The European Commission - the Vice-President in charge of the budget as well as experts from the Directorate-General for Budget - is also present. The Commission acts as honest broker, and strives to facilitate an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council.
This year, negotiations started on 29 October 2015 and were supposed to last until 18 November 2015 but an agreement was already found in the early morning of 14 November 2015. To seal the compromise reached in the budgetary talks, the Council approved (by unanimity) the agreed text on 24 November 2015, followed by the Parliament on 25 November 2015 (by 516 votes to 179, with 8 abstentions).