by Silvia Ellena
Negotiators of the European Parliament and the EU Council reached an agreement on the bloc’s 2024 budget, with the Parliament and the Commission calling on member states to agree on the proposed revision of the Union’s long-term budget as soon as possible.
Parliament and the member states’ representatives agreed on a budget of €189.4 billion for 2024, following a conciliation meeting between the institutions on Saturday (11 November).
Compared to the Council’s position demanding a lower 2024 budget of €187 billion, the Parliament managed to avoid cuts and secure additional funding, including €60 million for Erasmus+, €85 million for the research programme Horizon Europe, and €150 million in support for the neighbourhood.
The deal also saw additional funding to address growing humanitarian needs stemming from the conflict in Gaza.
“More people in our immediate neighbourhood will need support and this is why we are increasing the European Union support for humanitarian aid by €250 million,” Parliament’s lead negotiator Siegfried Muresan (EPP) told reporters during a press conference on Saturday night.
Focus on the long-term budget
However, reactions to the deal among EU lawmakers were not overly enthusiastic as the Parliament’s initial ambition was to link the 2024 budget deal to an agreement on the mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) – the EU’s seven-year budget for the 2021 to 2027 period.
The revision, proposed by the European Commission in June to ramp up the strained EU coffers, would see a €66 billion top-up for priorities including migration management, technology, and crisis response, as well as €50 billion in aid for Ukraine.
An early agreement on the revision, which is still being debated by member states, would have secured more resources for next year’s budget.
“Neither historic nor sufficient, this agreement will prevent Europe from slowing down next year,” MEP Valerie Hayer (Renew) said of the deal, adding that “the real issue” is the Council’s agreement on the MFF.
“Without a revision of the multiannual financial framework […], the European Union will be unable to cope with the next crisis impacting our continent, including a migratory crisis arising from the catastrophic situation in the Middle East,” Hayer said.
The call for a quick agreement on the MFF review also came from EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who welcomed the agreement on next year’s budget but added that “more needs to be done to address all the challenges we are facing”.
“I am counting on a swift adoption of the MFF mid-term revision to make sure we have a fully equipped budget for the upcoming years,” Hahn said, adding that the 2024 budget could be amended once the long-term budget revision is approved.
The 2024 budget deal now needs to be formally adopted by the Council and the plenary of the European Parliament. The vote in the Parliament’s plenary is scheduled during the Strasbourg plenary session on 22 November, while member states are expected to endorse the deal on 20 November.
*first published in: Euractiv.com