EU budget for 2022: MEPs want focus on COVID-19 crisis recovery

  • Overall budget for next year set at €171.8 billion 
  • Essential funding restored for key programmes cut by EU governments 
  • Significant increase for Horizon Europe (research), Erasmus+, health, climate and humanitarian aid 

MEPs want to support recovery from the pandemic, boost investments, tackle unemployment, and lay the foundations for a more resilient and sustainable Union.

Parliament voted on Wednesday (results announced on Thursday) on its position on the 2022 EU budget. MEPs reversed most cuts made by the Council (€1.43 billion altogether) and thereby restored the draft budget to the level originally proposed by the Commission in the budget lines concerned.

MEPs also increased funding for many programmes and policies, which they see as contributing to the post-pandemic recovery, in line with Parliament’s priorities set out in its guidelines for 2022. These include the Horizon Europe research programme (+€305 million above the Commission’s draft budget), the Connecting Europe Facility, which funds the construction of high-quality and sustainable trans-European transport, energy and digital networks (+€207 million), and the environment and climate action LIFE programme (+€171 million).

Young people and health

Support for young people remains a key priority: Erasmus+ has been increased by €137 million, equivalent to an additional 40 000 education exchanges, and €700 million was added to the draft budget to support the implementation of the European Child Guarantee. EU4Health has also been boosted, with an additional €80 million to build up a strong European Health Union and to make national health systems more resilient.

Humanitarian aid, migration, external assistance

MEPs increased funding for humanitarian aid by 20% and boosted the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, especially in light of the situation in Afghanistan. They also bolstered the Covax initiative for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. In the domain of security and defence, MEPs increased the relevant budget lines by more than €80 million.

An accompanying resolution, adopted with 521 against 88 votes and 84 abstentions, summarises Parliament’s position. The adopted text will be available here (under the following date: 20/10/2021).


Karlo Ressler (EPP, HR), general rapporteur for the EU budget 2022 (for section III – Commission): “I strongly believe that with this package we would manage to meet the expectations of the European citizens, which are understandably very high. (…) The key elements of our position are undoubtedly the restoration of the arbitrary cuts by the Council, and the reinforcement of lines that have an added value for Europeans: First, supporting the driving force of the European recovery and economy: small and medium enterprises. Secondly, reinforce future oriented programmes in research, innovation and education with a special focus on youth and children. Thirdly, to strengthen the European Health Union. And fourthly, to boost our efforts towards a digital, green and secure Europe.” (watch his speech from the plenary debate on 20 October)

Damian Boeselager (Greens/EFA, DE), rapporteur for the other sections: “Good institutions matter. They are the solid rock upon which citizens’ trust in politics is built. EU institutions need adequate budgetary support to do their job and deliver on the EU’s commitments, for example with the Green Deal or the supervision of hundreds of billions of additional funds in the Recovery Fund.” (watch his speech from the plenary debate on 20 October)

Next steps

With this vote, Parliament has set the overall level of commitment appropriations for 2022 (pledges to pay) at €171.8 billion, representing an increase of €2.7 billion (plus €1.3 billion for the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, reflecting the agreement on the corresponding regulation) compared to the draft budget as proposed by the Commission. It has set the overall level of payment appropriations at €172.5 billion.

The vote launches three weeks of “conciliation” talks with the Council, with the aim of reaching a deal for next year’s budget, which then has to be voted on by Parliament and signed by its President.