Brussels, Nov 18 (EFE). - The countries of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the Community budget for 2018 at dawn, which increased by 1.4% with with respect to 2017, up to 160,100 million euros, and will allocate more than half of these to promote employment, growth and cohesion.
"The 2018 budget focuses on priorities such as boost economic growth and job creation, strengthen security and address the challenges posed by immigration, "the Deputy Finance Minister of Estonia said in a statement. Märt Kivine, whose country holds the temporary presidency of the Council.
The final accounts, approved after a meeting of more than 16 hours preceded by more than two weeks of negotiation, set in 160,100 million euros the commitments (maximum amount of future payments to which the EU can commit) and in 144,700 million payments (actual expenses).
The amount committed for 2018 it is 1.4% higher than that of 2017 (157.860 million in commitments), and as usual it is in the middle of the position demanded by the European Parliament (162.550 million) and that of the Council (159,000 million), institution that represents the countries, responsible for filling the community coffers.
The item that grows the most (2.8%) is that destined to "growth" smart and inclusive ", up to 77,534 million euros, of which 22,001 million are allocated to initiatives to improve competitiveness and boost employment (3.2% more than in 2017) and 55,532 (2.7% more) to structural and cohesion funds.
This item includes 11,200 million euros for the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, another 2,000 million for the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), 354 million euros for the COSME program of support for small and medium-sized enterprises, or 350 million for the Initiative Youth Employment, among others.
The line destined to aid to agriculture also increases by 1.2%, to 59,285 million euros.
However, the to security (18.5%) to 3,493 million euros and the so-called Global Europe (8.3%) to 9,569 million, despite the relevance that both the European Parliament and countries attribute to both.
total, about 4,100 million will be dedicated to the management of immigration and security challenges, said the European Commission, adding that 40 million will go to finance the research in defense technologies.
The European Parliament, for its part, welcomed the inclusion of an increase in funds for security-related agencies (Europol, Eurojust and the European Asylum Office EASO).
Also, the Parliament said, the pre-accession funds to the EU that are granted to Turkey have been cut by 150 million and put into reserves another 70 million committed taking into account "the deterioration of the situation in relation to the concern for democracy, the rule of law and human rights" in the country.
"For those who deviate from our democratic standards and violate fundamental rights, we have sent a clear message that the money that the EU provides does not go conditions, "said the leader of the European Parliament for the negotiation of the budget, the Romanian popular MEP Siegfried Muresan.
This cut in the pre-accession funds had been sued by the heads of state and government at its October summit due to concerns about the drift of Turkey, to whom funds are granted to help him on his way to accession to the EU.
In order to enter into force, the European Parliament and the Council must still give their final approval in the next two weeks.