EU budget for 2019: Council agrees its position

On 11 July 2018, EU ambassadors agreed the Council’s position on the 2019 EU draft budget in advance of  negotiations with the European Parliament.

In total, the Council foresees €164.1 billion in commitments and €148.2 billion in payments for next year’s budget. Compared to 2018, this is a +2.09% increase in commitments and +2.34% increase in payments.

The Council has continued to pursue a balanced approach to the annual budgetary process. We will make sure that financial resources are focused on our current priorities such as economic growth, migration and security, and the best performing programmes. Where justified by our analysis, some of the figures proposed by the Commission have been reviewed. Member states have also ensured that there will be sufficient margin in the budget to react to unexpected needs. I am pleased that the strong backing for the Council’s position gives the presidency a solid basis for its negotiations with the European Parliament.

Hartwig Löger, Austrian Federal Minister for Finance

Priority fields and programmes

In line with its approach in previous years, the Council wants to see increased support for key EU programmes in the areas of research and innovation, youth exchanges and targeted infrastructure investments. Horizon 2020 would receive +5.79% (€11.9 billion), Erasmus+ programme +10.37% (€2.6 billion) and the Connecting Europe Facility +26.46% (€3.5 billion) compared to 2018. The LIFE programme would also receive an additional 5.20% of funding, or €550 million, to support environment and climate action.

In the field of migration, the Council’s position provides for a significant boost to the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, which would get +55.80%, or €1.1 billion of funds, to promote the efficient management of migration flows. This includes more money for the reform of the common European asylum system. Beyond the EU, additional funding is foreseen for the Central Mediterranean route and the second tranche of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

New and strengthened initiatives

The Council has also supported the Commission’s proposal for a considerable reinforcement of the EU’s civil protection mechanism and the establishment of a  reserve of operational assets at EU level (RescEU) in order to help member states deal with natural and man-made disasters.

Support for the European Solidarity Corps, which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects across Europe, is more than doubled, to €103 million.

€245 million is foreseen for the establishment of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, as proposed by the Commission.

New funds will also be made available to finance the creation of the European Labour Authority and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the strengthening of the Office of the European Data Protection Supervisor.

A summary of the Council’s position is set out in the table below*:

Table: Summary of the Council’s position

 DescriptionBudget 2018
(AB No 1 to 3/2018 incl.)
Council’s position
on DB 2019
1Smart and inclusive growth77.566.679.167.5+2,07%+1,25%
1aCompetitiveness for growth and jobs22.,29%+1,62%
1bEconomic, social and territorial cohesion55.546.557.147.0+2,78%+1,09%
2Sustainable growth: natural resources59.356.159.757.5+0,68%+2,46%
3Security and citizenship3.,73%+16,83%
4Global Europe10.08.911.19.5+10,02%+6,25%
MFF headings160.0144.3163.5147.8+2,15%+2,42%
Special instruments 0.70.5 0.6 0.4-13,14%-20,44%
Emergency Aid Reserve 0.30.3 0.4 0.4+2,00%+2,00%
European Globalisation Adjustment Fund 0.2 0.030.2 0.01+2,00%-60,00%
European Union Solidarity Fund0.1 0.1 0.050.05-66,14%-66,14%
Total appropriations160.7144.8164.1148.2+2,09%+2,34%

*in billion €; c/a: commitments, p/a: payments, AB: amending budget, DB: draft budget

Next steps

The Council is expected to adopt formally its position at the beginning of September. This will then serve as a mandate for the Austrian presidency to negotiate the 2019 EU budget with the European Parliament. 


Commitments are legal promises to spend money on activities whose implementation extends over several financial years. Payments cover expenditure arising from commitments entered into the EU budget during current and preceding financial years.