The European Union’s budget will need an extra EUR 11.2 billion this year to reimburse beneficiaries of EU funded programmes completed across Europe.
Last autumn the Commission proposed an amending budget to cover the increased unpaid claims in 2012. The final amount agreed in December 2012 was at EUR 2.9 billion below the Commission’s estimate of needs. These were added to the backlog of cohesion policy payments created at the end of the year and moved to 2013 budget.
While proposing EUR 9 billion of additional payments towards cohesion, the draft amending budget requests a further EUR 2.2 billion to cover all other areas of the budget, with the exception of administration. This confirms the very high implementation of Union programmes which are running at full power. This draft amending budget also covers an increase in revenue of EUR 290 million from fines and penalties.
“This cannot come as a surprise, says Commissioner for Financial Planning and Budget Janusz Lewandowski: in recent years, voted EU budgets have been increasingly below the real needs based on estimates from Member States; this is creating a snowballing effect of unpaid claims transferred onto the following year. The ostrich policy can only work for so long: postponing payment of a bill will not make it go away. Not one cent of the extra amount we request today is for the EU institutions, it will merely allow the EU to pay its share of infrastructure or science projects that Member States agreed to start in the past. I am confident that the Council and the Parliament will deliver on their commitments to avoid any shortfall in payments and take a swift decision on this proposal.”