Poland satisfied with EU agreement on budget draft

Poland’s Finance Ministry has expressed its satisfaction with the EU member states’ agreement on the EU 2020 draft budget, particularly with the fact that budgetary cuts have not affected the cohesion and agriculture policies of which Poland is the largest benefactor.

“Thanks to the active stance of Poland – the largest EU budget benefactor – we managed to prevent cuts in structural funds, the Cohesion Fund and rural areas development programme, cuts that were pursued by states that are net contributors to the EU budget,” wrote the ministry.

Meetings between EU member states’ ambassadors resulted in a reduction in the initial value of EU draft budgetary commitments from EUR 168.3 bln to EUR 166.8 bln. The EU budgetary draft payments, initially amounting to EUR 153.7 bln, they will now equal EUR 153.1 bln.

Compared to the 2019 budget, if passed in their current form, the draft budgetary commitments would be 0.6 percent higher and the draft budgetary payments would be 3.3 percent higher.

These commitments are money which value is to be written down into agreements during a given year. The payments are the actual amount that is expected to be spent in a given year. The increase in payments compared to 2019 reflects the acceleration in the execution of programmes in the seventh and last spendings scheme within the multiannual financial EU perspective.

This draft EU budget is expected to iron out all commitments to avoid an accumulation of overdue bills, particularly in the cohesion policy that experiences an acceleration in its projects execution.

According to the European Council report, the “Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion” funds may be EUR 633.6 mln higher in 2020 than in 2019. The member states want to allot as much as EUR 24 bln to the “Growth, Competitiveness and Employment” sector, which is 2.72 percent more than in 2019.

The EU is to spend EUR 1.2 bln more on the energy-related part of the “Connecting Europe” scheme and also EUR 166 mln on the “European Solidarity Corps” that enables young people to take part in voluntary work abroad.

Expenses on scientific research programmes Horizon 2020, and Erasmus+ will also spike, also in the case of COSME, which can be summarised as supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. The expenses on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme are also expected to rise.

As much as 20 percent of 2020 EU expenditure is to go on preventing climate change. The EU member states also want the EU to spend more on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the EU civil protection mechanism that supports reactions to natural disasters, technology and man-made crisis situations.

Meanwhile, the “Global Europe” scheme is to be cut by 10 percent due to the expiration of the period of budgetary commitments related to an EU instrument that provides help to refugees in Turkey.

The agreement achieved by the EU ambassadors is yet to be passed by the European Council. Then a debate on the draft budget will take place between the Council and the European Parliament. The agreement is due to be reached by the turn of November.