The draft budget for 2012 amounts to €132.7bn in payments, representing a 4.9 % increase on 2011.
The draft budget, adopted by the Commission on 20 April, is described by Financial Programming and Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski as “a delicate balancing act combining austerity and growth boosting measures for 500 million Europeans.”
While actual payments planned for 2012 amount to €132.7bn, budgetary commitments for the year (money pledged for payment according to EU's 2007-13 financial programme) amount to €147.4bn (3.7% more than 2011).
This budget is in tune with austerity measures in place in many EU countries. It also reflects the Commission's legal obligations towards beneficiaries of EU funds across Europe and is an investment in growth and jobs.
In an unprecedented move, the Commission is proposing to slash administrative costs for EU institutions. The Commission is leading by example, imposing for the first time ever zero-growth on its administrative costs and maintaining its zero-growth policy on employing staff for the third year in a row.
However, the Commission must honour its legal commitments. EU-funded programmes launched in 2007 are now running at full speed. This means that in 2012 we will have more bills to pay to reimburse regional authorities and small businesses that have invested in those programmes.
The 2012 draft budget concentrates the spending increases on those areas where it is most likely to encourage growth, in particular research and cohesion, which is necessary to sustain EU countries’ efforts.
Only 6% of the EU budget goes to the functioning of the EU institutions. The other 94% goes to Europe's regions and towns, businesses, scientists and citizens, with half of it targeting growth and employment.