The European Commission last week took the first step towards approving the EU budget for 2024, proposing that it should reach €189.3 billion. In Brussels’ intentions, research would take 13.6 billion euros of this amount. The draft envisages that almost all this budget item – €12.8 billion – would go to Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship R&D funding programme, which would represent an increase of €400 million over this year.
In a press release, however, the European Commission acknowledges that the EU “has faced exceptional difficulties in recent years, such as rapidly rising inflation, which have put considerable pressure on the budget’s ability to remain responsive to developments.”
This budget – which in the coming months will be subject to the usual negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament for final approval – will be complemented by some €113 billion in grant payments under Next Generation EU, the EU’s post-pandemic recovery instrument.
EU budget 2024 draft
To address the EU’s various priorities, the European Commission proposes to unblock the following budget lines.
Research and innovation: this are the aforementioned €13.6 billion, of which €12.8 billion will go to Horizon Europe. The draft budget also includes funding for the European Chips Act from this programme and by reallocating funds from other programmes.
Environment and climate action: €2.4 billion, of which €745 million will go to the LIFE programme to support climate change mitigation and adaptation, and €1.5 billion will be allocated to the Just Transition Fund to ensure that the ecological transition works for all.
European strategic investments: €4.6 billion, of which €2.7 billion will be allocated to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to improve cross-border infrastructure, €1.3 billion to the Digital Europe programme to shape the EU’s digital future, and €348 million to key priorities (research and innovation, dual green and digital transition, health sector and strategic technologies) of InvestEU.
People, social cohesion, and values: €10.3 billion, of which €3.96 billion will cover the rising costs of Next Generation EU borrowing; €3.7 billion will go to Erasmus+ to provide education and mobility opportunities for people; €332 million will support artists and creators across Europe; and €215 million will be dedicated to the promotion of justice, rights and values.
Defence: €1.6 billion, of which €638 million to support capability development and research under the European Defence Fund (the 2023 call for proposals is published this Thursday), €241 million to support military mobility, €260 million for the new short-term defence instrument (EDIRPA) and €343 million to support ammunition production.
EU4Health and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (rescEU): €754 million and €230 million, to ensure a comprehensive health response to people’s needs, and to deploy operational assistance rapidly in case of crisis, respectively.
Support to EU partners and interests in the world: €15.8 billion, of which €11.4 billion under the Neighbourhood, Development Cooperation, and International Cooperation Instrument (Global Europe), €2.1 billion for the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) and €1.7 billion for humanitarian aid (HUMA).
Regional development and cohesion: €47.9 billion to support economic, social, and territorial cohesion, as well as infrastructure to support the ecological transition and EU priority projects.
Security: €726 million, of which €315 million will go to the Internal Security Fund (ISF), which will fight terrorism, radicalisation, organised crime, and cybercrime.
Space: €2.1 billion, for the European Space Programme, which will bring together EU action in this strategic area.
Secure Satellite Connections: €213 million, under the Union’s new Secure Connectivity Programme.
Common Agricultural Policy and the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund: €53.8 billion and €1.1 billion respectively, for the benefit of European farmers and fishers, and to strengthen the resilience of the agri-food and fisheries sectors and create the necessary scope for crisis management.
EU border protection: €2.2 billion, of which €1.1 billion for the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF) and €874 million (the total EU contribution) for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
Migration: €1.7 billion, of which €1.5 billion to support migrants and asylum seekers in line with EU values and priorities.
Single market: €947 million will ensure its functioning, including €602 million for the single market programme and €200 million for anti-fraud, taxation, and customs work.
The draft budget for 2024 is part of the Union’s long-term budget adopted at the end of 2020, with subsequent adjustments, and aims to translate its priorities into annual results. The budget remains on track to dedicate 30% of the long-term budget and the Next Generation EU recovery instrument to the fight against climate change.