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On 15 December the European Parliament adopted the 2011 EU budget at the plenary session in Strasbourg. In the end, it was not necessary to recur to the less-than-ideal “provisional twelfth” system, which would have been required if a budget had not been approved before the end of 2010 (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe November 2010). The budget is comprised of two parts: commitments and appropriations (funded at a level of EUR 141.8 billion) and payments (set at EUR 126.5 billion).
The 2011 budget appears to reflect most of the European Parliament’s priorities while simultaneously “respecting the total limits laid down by the Council”. For example, the final agreement includes the budget distribution for a variety of MEP priorities including funding for youth, innovation, the Middle East peace process and Palestine. These budget negotiations also took into account the agreement between the Council and Commission to launch a legislative proposal on a long-term budget process to be drafted by June 2011. The Council, Parliament and Commission also agreed to adopt an amending budget in case supplementary funds are needed during 2011. In terms of specific funding levels, and particularly with reference to higher education, funding for the Lifelong Learning Programme has been increased by EUR 18 million over 2010 levels. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme and the Intelligent Energy - Europe programme will both receive EUR 10 million more than last year.
Overall, in light of ongoing financial crisis and economic downturn, the new budget is focused most heavily on economic recovery and amplifying development and job opportunities.European Parliament