Climate becomes top priority in EU’s 2020 budget

(EurActiv, 5 Jun 2019) The European Commission proposed on Wednesday (5 June) a budget worth €168.3 billion for the bloc in 2020, aimed at promoting a more competitive European economy and solidarity and security in the EU. This is the last budget under the 2014-2020 fiscal period and put climate change at the top of the agenda.

As much as 21% of the proposed budget will be devoted to climate change issues.

If EU member states accept the 21% figure, that will ensure that the EU reaches a 19.7% average spend on climate change policies over the current seven-year EU budget , Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger told a press conference, meeting its target of 20%.

The budget is based on the assumption that the UK will continue to participate in its implementation and financing as if it were a member state, even though the UK is scheduled to leave the EU after 31 October. In terms of commitments, the proposed budget amounts to €168.3 billion, a 1.3% increase on 2019.

Responding to a question about which part of the 2020 budget he thought would be most problematic, Oettinger said: “I think our budget is not problematic, it’s based on a framework, we know our priorities. If the UK was to leave with no deal, we would lose €12 billion from a net payer. (…) This would be the main problem.”

In terms of payments, the budget amounts to €153.7 billion, 3.5% higher than last year’s figures. Overall, the budget represents 1% of EU GNI (Gross National Income) and 2% of EU public spending.

Out of the €168.3 billion in commitments, €83 billion will be allocated to boosting economic growth and supporting young people. Some €13.2 billion will be given to research and innovation under the programme Horizon 2020, a 6.4% increase on 2019.

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EurActiv, 6 Jun 2019: Climate becomes top priority in EU’s 2020 budget