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Ceilings – The maximum annual amounts


The MFF lays down the maximum annual amounts ('ceilings') which the EU may spend in these six policy areas and overall over the 2014-20 period. There are two types of expenditure ceilings:

  • An annual ceiling for each heading, expressed in commitment appropriations (legally binding promises to spend money which will not necessarily be paid out in the same year but may be disbursed over several financial years);
  • An overall annual ceiling:
    • for commitment appropriations corresponding to the sum of each heading ceilings;
    • for payment appropriations: the actual amounts authorized for disbursement in a given year. As a rule, budgeted amounts correspond to the sum of payments scheduled for each category. The annual payment appropriations must be covered entirely by total annual revenue.

The overall ceiling is also expressed as a percentage of the EU's estimated GNI. This percentage is updated every year on the basis of the latest available GNI forecasts in order to check that the EU's total estimated level of payments is compatible with the maximum amount of own resources which the EU may raise during a year (1.20 % of the EU's GNI).

The difference ('margin') between budgeted payment appropriations and the annual payment ceiling and the margin between the budgeted commitment appropriations and the expenditure ceiling per heading provide room for maneuver in case of unforeseen needs and emergencies.


Related links:


The EU Budget: Where does the money go? cover
The EU Budget: Where does the money go?