99.7% (in commitments) of the EU budget were implemented in 2011 and 99.2% of the voted payments were executed. Out of a total budget of €123.2bn in payments, only €375 million have not been implemented (compared to €1.6bn not implemented in 2010).
Implementation could have been much higher: In the course of December, the Commission received €15bn worth of bills for EU projects from the whole of Europe, of which only €4bn could be reimbursed. Had more payments appropriations been available, another €5bn could have been paid out to Member States before the end of the year. They will now have to be paid from the 2012 budget. "These figures show that Europe's towns and regions, businesses, scientists and others need and use EU funds, especially in times of crisis", said Janusz Lewandowski, EU Commissioner for Budget; "those who call for cuts in the EU budget risk therefore hurt their own citizens by depriving them of EU funds. EU funds bring resources to those who are most likely to kick start Europe's economic recovery ".
Many of the programmes in the area of Competitiveness achieved full implementation or even exceeded the budgeted payments, and needed reinforcement through transfers and/or amending budgets. This was particularly the case for Research, Competitiveness and Innovation, as well as Lifelong Learning.
Same scenario for Cohesion Policy where lack of resources in the EU budget made it impossible to pay all the bills for projects; Especially significant was the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) which required over EUR 1 billion of additional appropriations made available through a combination of amending budgets and transfers.
Every year the Commission produces information notes on the implementation of the EU budget (in February, June and October). These are produced for information purposes only and are sent to the budgetary authority (European Parliament and Council).
The February information note gives an overview of the budget implementation as by/on 31 December 2011, for commitments and payments. It does not include implementation data per country.
Annex: Implementation rate per heading (PDF, 16 KB)