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On 20 October, the European Parliament voted on its position on the 2022 EU budget. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) reversed most cuts made by the Council (€1.43 billion) and restored the draft budget to the level originally proposed by the Commission. The Parliament set the overall budget for next year at EUR 171.8 billion.
MEPs increased funding for several programmes and policies that contribute to the post-pandemic recovery according to Parliament’s priorities for 2022, particularly Horizon Europe (EUR 305 million increase above the Commission’s draft budget) and Erasmus+ (EUR 137 million increase equivalent to an additional 40 000 education exchanges). Funding was also boosted for health, climate and humanitarian aid priorities.
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 will haveto be voted on by Parliament and signed by its President.
The Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU has already warned MEPs that member states will not accept these increases, as they wish to keep some funding in reserve for unforeseen problems in security, humanitarian aid and migration, while the Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe budgets have already been enhanced quite significantly. MEPs hope to reach an agreement with the Council before the 22 November plenary session. In case no agreement is reached, the Commission will have to present a new draft annual budget, a process that could drag on into 2022.
On 21 October, the European Parliament also backed the new generation of nine European partnerships under Horizon Europe, covering clean aviation, hydrogen, the circular economy for the environment, rail, global health and innovative medicines. Total investments will be over EUR 20 billion, of which at least half will be borne by the private partners of these initiatives.