The Commission yesterday (30 June) proposed the 2017 draft EU Budget of €134.9 billion with the focus on three main areas – the ongoing recovery of the European economy, that is jobs, growth and competitiveness, the protection of the external borders of the EU including the reinforcement of security inside and outside of the EU and provision of support for the reception and integration of refugees. There will also be budget allocated to address the root causes of migration in the countries of origin and transit.
European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, in charge of budget and human resources, commented that the EU was facing “massive challenges and in these difficult times a focused and effective EU budget is not a luxury but a necessity. It helps buffer against shocks, providing a boost to our economy and helping to deal with issues like the refugee crisis. As always, we continue to focus our budget on results, making sure that every euro from the EU budget is well spent.”
The proposed budget counts with €21.1 billion on growth, employment and competitiveness. This includes budget for research and innovation under Horizon 2020, education under Erasmus+ and funding for small and medium sized-enterprises under the COSME program. About €2.66 billion is designated for the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is the vehicle behind the Investment Plan for Europe. EFSI is a success story for Europe – it has secured €106.7 billion in investments across EU Member States in less than a year. €5.2 billion will be allocated to the protection of the external borders as well as addressing the refugee challenges inside and outside the EU.
The EU budget is about 1 percent of the block’s total GDP. However, thanks to its multiplication effect and focus on efficiency and results, it makes a difference. Over 2007-2013, for example, the average increase in GDP as a result of Cohesion Policy is estimated to have been at 2.1 percent a year in Latvia, 1.8 percent a year in Lithuania and 1.7 percent a year in Poland.