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EU budget: Transfer of unused 2014 EU budget commitments

The European Commission is seeking the approval of the European Parliament and the Council to transfer unused commitments for funds under shared management of 21 billion euro from 2014 to the budgets of 2015-2017. Shared management funds are when individual countries distribute funding, such as for rural development or regional development.

This is a one-off transfer which will ensure funding is still available for programmes which could not be finalised in 2014. No additional money is requested for the EU budget as today's proposal does not affect the total amounts for the 2014-2020 period.

The same procedure was applied at the start of the two previous budget cycles (2000-2006 and 2007-2013). It is foreseen in the rules for the EU budget as agreed by the European Parliament and EU Member States in 2013.

The programmes concerned are supported by the following funds:
•    European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
•    European Social Fund (ESF)
•    Youth Employment Initiative (YEI)
•    Cohesion Fund (CF)
•    European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
•    European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
•    Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF)  
•    Internal Security Fund (ISF).

This exercise aims at maintaining the agreed allocations to Member States under each of these funds. Member States will be able to submit to the Commission any eligible expenditure they might have incurred prior to the adoption of a programme. Therefore, and taking both the rules and historical evidence on implementation of the funds into account, the Commission does not propose to revise the annual payment ceilings of the MFF.

The transfer is a knock-on effect from the very late agreement on the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the framework for the EU budget.  As the MFF Regulation was only adopted by Council in December 2013, the legal acts governing the funds were adopted even later which delayed the preparation and completion of the programmes which are the basis for actual funding decisions. The European Commission and Member States made every effort to adopt as many programmes as possible whilst at the same time abiding to the increased standards in terms of ensuring quality of spending. In spite of this, due to the delays mentioned above, a significant number of programmes could not be adopted in 2014. The rules for the MFF provided for this with the possibility of transfer of 2014 commitments in order not to lose them.

The EU budget consists of commitment appropriations and payment appropriations. Commitment appropriations are legally binding promises of funding which are, however, not necessarily paid out in the same year but may be disbursed over several financial years. They could be compared to the maximum amount payable in a contract. Payment appropriations are the actual money authorised to be paid out to honour bills presented in a given year.

Related information

Understanding today's proposal to transfer unused EU budget commitments from 2014: Questions and answers

Draft Amending Budget 2/2015: Documents

Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020