Principal roles in budget and funding

The European Commission proposes and implements the EU budget and manages EU funding programmes.

Proposing the EU budget

The European Commission is responsible for preparing and proposing a draft budget for the European Union as a whole. It bases this on budget guidelines for the coming year and in line with the multiannual financial framework regulation in force.

The multiannual financial framework lays down the maximum annual amounts ('ceilings') which the EU may spend in different political fields over a period of at least 5 years. The present MFF covers seven years: from 2014 to 2020. 

The Commission submits the draft budget to the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament for approval on September 1. In keeping with the annual budgetary procedure, agreement on the budget must be reached by December 31.

How the budget is decided

Managing the EU budget

The European Commission is ultimately responsible for managing the EU budget. In practice, up to 80 percent of the budget expenditure is managed by EU countries under so-called shared management, particularly in the areas of agriculture, growth and employment aid to EU regions.

A set of checks and balances is in place to ensure that shared management expenditure is managed properly and in accordance with the rules.

Budget implementation may be direct (Commission, Union delegations, executive agencies), indirect (via third countries or bodies and international organisations), and shared (EU countries).

Who manages the money?

Implementing funding programmes

About 80% of EU funding is managed under programmes jointly administered by the European Commission and national authorities in the EU countries.

Where the European Commission directly manages funding, it does so by awarding grants and launching tendering procedures. It manages the budget of projects carried out by its departments, at its headquarters, in the EU delegations or through EU executive agencies.

Some funding programmes are implemented by national authorities either inside or outside the EU, international organisations, or development agencies of EU countries.

However the funding is managed, transparent procedures ensure that everyone is treated equally and has the same access to information on EU funding processes.

Learn about how EU funding works, how to apply for EU funding and funding eligibility rules