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Earlier this month, there were rumours about funding shortfalls for Erasmus, as well as for the overall Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). The European Commission has now confirmed that there is currently indeed not enough money to honour all the funding commitments that it has entered into in the present financial year, not only for the LLP but also for the 7th Framework Programme and for most of the Structural Funds. The total gap is of EUR 8.9 billion. The shortfall for LLP is not extremely high though, comparatively speaking; it amounts to EUR 180 million for the entire programme (of which EUR 90 million just for Erasmus) out of a total of EUR 7 billion budgeted for the period from 2007 to 2013, and would, if at all, only affect payments in the latter part of the current academic year (2012/13).
The European Commission explained how this unusual situation has come about in a statement. The Commission had based its Erasmus allocations on its proposed budget for 2012, which amounted to EUR 132.7 billion, whereas the finally agreed budget (by the Council and European Parliament) was only worth EUR 129.1 billion. On top of this, the 2012 budget had to cover costs from the 2011 budget worth some EUR 5 billion.
The final decision over budgetary matters lies with the European Parliament (EP) and the Council of the European Union. The Budget Commissioner, Janusz Lewandowski, presented on 25 October the remedial budget proposal of the European Commission to the EP, in its plenary meeting in Strasbourg. Although the MEPs voted to bring back the 2013 budget in line with the Commission’s proposals, because the Council did not agree with all amendments proposed by the EP, a budgetary conciliation procedure was started, already on 23 October, between the EP and the Council. The first meeting was held on 26 October and the second is scheduled for 9 November. The conciliation procedure will end on 13 November. If by this date the EP and the Council come to an agreement, the 2013 budget should be adopted within the following 14 days. If the procedure fails, the Commission has to submit a new budget proposal.European Commission – LLP and Erasmus budgetary information European Parliament Conciliation Procedure over the 2013 budget