EU budget is well managed, report shows

In 2018 the EU budget successfully delivered on the EU’s political priorities, like cohesion policy, climate action and migration

Commissioner for Budget and Human Resource Gunther H. Oettinger.

The 2018 Annual Management and Performance Report (AMPR) approved by the College of Commissioners and published by the European Commission on 25 June shows the performance, management and protection of the EU budget, as well its key achievements in terms of creating jobs, investing in youth and supporting bloc's political priorities, like cohesion policy, cutting-edge research, climate action and migration.

As stated in the AMPR, the priority for the 2018 budget was to build on the economic recovery, in particular by giving a further boost to investment. Since then, investment has picked up significantly thanks to more than €408bn οf investment triggered by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

In particular, as per 31 December 2018, the EFSI has mobilised over €370bn in investment across Europe since 2015, significantly more than the initial target of €315bn and is on track to reach the increased 2020 target of €500bn. With this it helped finance the building of half a million affordable homes, improve health-care services for 30 million Europeans, upgrade rail and urban infrastructure for 95 million passengers and support access to finance for more than 280000 small and medium-sized enterprises, amplifying greatly the impact of the EU budget.

In addition, cohesion policy funds have contributed to an additional 1.3 million jobs in the EU over the last 10 years and have enabled 8.9 million people to acquire new skills. As far as climate change is concerned, in 2018, expenditures have been integrated into all EU programmes and a total of 20.7% of the budget has been spent on climate change actions.

Strategic investments have also boosted economic growth and competitiveness by financing key transport, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure. These investments focus on areas where the EU enables a greater impact than public spending at a national level. The Connecting Europe Facility plays an important role in developing such infrastructures, which also prepare the ground for a less carbon-intensive EU energy network. In 2018, this facility made available €1.4bn in EU grants to be combined with financing from the EFSI and other sources.

The EU budget is also delivering, thanks to space programmes such as Galileo, Copernicus, and EGNOS. In 2018, four additional new Galileo satellites have been launched to better monitor the oceans, land, and atmosphere around the Earth, as well as improve people's lives. From April 2018, for example, Galileo is integrated into every new car type sold in Europe, supporting the eCall emergency-response system. Copernicus, on the other hand has provided emergency maps for 80% of the floods in Europe. This helped the national emergency services with better overview of the situation and to be more effective during rescue operations. At the end of 2018, 315 airports in almost all EU countries are using the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, making landing in difficult weather conditions safer and avoiding delays and re-routing.

2018 also marked a new chapter in European defence cooperation with the European Defence Fund. In 2018, €40m has been allocated to collaborative research in innovative defence technologies and products. The Commission has adopted the biennial work programmes to co-finance joint defence capability development projects in 2019-2020 with an EU contribution of €500m.

The EU budget also continued to underpin the EU’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge research and innovation, focusing on cross-country collaboration, industrial relevance and economies of scale. As a result Horizon2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation, is now considered the world’s largest transnational research-funding programme as well as the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever, with nearly €80bn of funding available over 7 years. In 2018 alone, calls for proposals worth €10bn were launched for it.

"2018 was also the year where the Commission made its proposals for the future multiannual financial framework, in May and June 2018." Gunther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resource, stressed.

'An extensive spending review was organised, analysing the performance of all programmes. My approach was to use EU added-value as a core criterion to underpin all future spending, boosting funding for new priorities, modernising existing programmes, simplifying and streamlining where possible and giving the Union a more flexible budget,' he added, continuing that in his opinion " the Commission has proposed a modern budget for a union that protects, empowers and defends, and which is balanced and realistic."

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