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The Austrian Presidency appears to have managed to broker an agreement over the Union’s budget 2007 – 2013 (financial perspectives). Compared to the proposal of the European Council of December 2005, which the European Parliament had rejected as inadequate, this agreement represents a budget rise of four billion euro.
If adopted, the compromise will bring the budget of the Lifelong Learning Programme to 6.2 billion, up from 5.4 billion in December, but still far less than what had originally been foreseen. The compromise would also add 300 million to the budget of the 7th Research Framework Programme, thus bringing the total FP7 budget to 47.8 billion euro.
The budget compromise still needs to become formally agreed. However, it can now be adopted as a so-called “A” point by any Council meeting (without the need to wait for the next European Council). The European Parliament can give its official agreement in its plenary session from 15th to 18th May. Should no further problems arise, the likelihood is that the Lifelong Learning Programme and FP 7 can start on time in 2007, avoiding a much-dreaded "transition year".