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Commission asks for €66B EU budget top-up

Commission asks for €66B EU budget top-up

by host

The European Commission requested an increase of €66 billion on Tuesday for the EU’s long-term budget after several crises drained the bloc’s coffers.

“We have been using the budget more than ever,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “We come today with a very targeted and a limited proposal for the absolute must.”

The money would be spent as follows:

— An estimated €19 billion to cover for a rise in interest payments on EU debt through 2027;

— €17 billion for providing grants for Ukraine, alongside €33 billion in loans (the loans don’t count toward the overall top-up figure, as they’re borrowed against the EU’s budget);

— €15 billion for migration and neighborhood policy;

— €10 billion for a top-up of existing funds like InvestEU (€5 billion), Innovation Fund (€3 billion), the European Defense Fund (€1.5 billion) and European Innovation Council (€500 million), which combined with the redeployment of existing EU cohesion funds, should mobilize investments of up to €160 billion overall according to the Commission;

— A top-up of of €3 billion for “flexibility instruments,” a rainy-day pot of money for unforeseen expenditure;

— €1.9 billion for higher administration costs of running the EU’s machinery;

It will be a tough sell to get unanimous backing from EU countries, some of which ruled out providing more funding to the EU other than for Ukraine support.

“What we’re proposing is what member states want us to do,” EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said Tuesday. “But there’s always a cost attached.”

The Commission hopes to get an agreement on the revised budget by December 4, the last date available to clinch a deal on the annual 2024 budget, which is linked to the long-term budget review.

“We can expect for good reason that a solution and an agreement can be found,” Hahn said.

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