EU’s 2016 budget: parliamentary committees determine their positions

The EU’s budget for next year will be decided over the coming months. Starting this week parliamentary committees adopts their opinions on the budget, followed by the budget committee drafting its recommendation to MEPs. Meanwhile the Council will present its position during next week’s plenary. Check the EP infographic for all the steps of the budgetary procedure.

How it works

The European Commission proposes a budget for the EU for the following year, which is then submitted to Parliament and the Council. These instituations then propose changes and try to find an agreement on the final budget.


Eleven parliamentary committees meet this week to determine their position. Three of them already did on Monday 31 August, while another eight meet on Thursday 3 September. The other committees will vote on their position over the coming weeks. The plenary vote on Parliament’s position, to be prepared by the budget committee, will take place in October.

The Council, representing the national governments, will present its own position to MEPs in the Parliament on Tuesday 8 September.

Negotiations with the member states

Parliament and the Council are likely to disagree about what amounts to set for commitments and payments. Commitments are the contractual obligations that may span more than one year, while payments are the expenditure foreseen to be made in the next 12-month period.

Member states agreed on the Council’s position in July.  They believe next year’s commitments should be €153.27 billion and payments €142.12 billion. That is €563.6 million in commitments and €1.4 billion in payments less than what the European Commission is proposing.

As the Council tends to propose figures below what the Parliament is asking for, the two institutions will have to enter into negotations in order to find an agreement. This is known as the conciliation process. If this is the case, it could take place in November. MEPs could then vote on the outcome of the negotiations at the end of November.

To find out more about the budgetary procedure, click on this link.

Parliament position

During previous budget negotiations Parliament emphasised the need to cut the backlog of unpaid bills caused by underfunding already approved EU projects. Portuguese EPP  member José Manuel Fernandes, who is responsible for steering the Commission budget through the Parliament, said in June: “It is unacceptable not to pay bills and debts. It’s a question of credibility, of trust, but also growth.”

Another important issue for the Parliament is to ensure sufficient funding for research, transport networks and neighbourhood programmes.