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Council and Parliament move towards 2013 budget agreement

The Council of Ministers has officially approved a package deal on the 2013 annual budget and an amending budget for 2012 at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 6 December.

The package, agreed by negotiators on 29 November, commits an additional €6.1 billion for the 2012 budget and €132.8 bn of spending for 2013. This is less than the amount proposed by the Commission, who requested €9bn for 2012 and €138bn in payments for 2013.

The European Parliament is also expected to sign off on the package in its plenary session on 12 December, following an endorsement by the Parliament’s budgets committee on 4 December (RET 5 Dec 12).

In a statement on 5 December, the Parliament’s president Martin Schulz confirmed that “a majority is emerging which is ready to vote favourably during the vote next week”. But Schulz emphasized that the Parliament’s approval is dependent on the condition that, following an agreement, outstanding bills for 2012 will not be financed out of the 2013 budget but must be provided by member states additionally.

This refers to a non-binding political compromise made by negotiators that the Commission will draft an amending budget in early 2013 to cover the remaining €2.9 billion for 2012, without affecting the proper implementation of the 2013 budget. “The necessary guarantees for this must be delivered at the highest levels of the institutions; there is no margin left for interpretation,” said Schulz.

If approved by the Parliament before 31 December, the 2013 budget will enter into force on 1 January, preventing the application of provisional twelfths, whereby the previous year’s budget is divided into 12 portions and allocated monthly.