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POLITICOs guide to the EU budget deal

After more than two years of negotiations and a global pande..

After more than two years of negotiations and a global pandemic, EU leaders have agreed on their spending plans for the next seven years.

The 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) will be €1.074 trillion and will be accompanied by a €750 billion EU recovery fund, under the groundbreaking plan that will also see countries jointly borrow on the financial markets for the first time.

But who gets what — and under what conditions? POLITICO has the breakdown.

Crisis recovery

Most of the coronavirus recovery fund — €312.5 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans — will be spent through a new Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to help countries get their economies through the crisis. The grant portion is linked to national recovery plans, meaning it is tied to economic reforms: Countries will get payouts based on their progress toward certain targets. Under pressure to save euros, leaders discarded the idea of a €26 billion “solvency instrument” that was intended to prop up companies in danger of failing due to the crisis.


The Common Agricultural Policy budget is set at €336.4 billion, comprising €258.6 billion for the first pillar (which mostly funds direct payments to farmers) and €77.9 billion for rural development, which funds green and social schemes. Thats a decrease of some €46 billion from the 2014-2020 CAP budget for the EU27. The new deal also includes €7.5 billion in rural development grants from the EU recovery fund, intended to help farmers meet the blocs climate ambitions. That figure was halved during the final stages of negotiations — but perhaps as a gift to soften the blow, leaders agreed to ring-fence close to €5.4 billion in gifts for 15 countries from the CAP rural development budget. France receives the largest share, while Germany, Italy and Spain are the next-biggest beneficiaries.


Cohesion funding — designed to put Europes countries and regions on a more equal footing — stands at €330 billion, and theres also a €47.5 billion top-up under a new ReactEU program thats part of the recovery fund. Over the past two years, Southern and Eastern countries fought hard to raise the Commissions original proposal, which called for €330.6 billion in cohesion spending — a 10 percent cut compared with current spending for the EU27.


Leaders agreed to earmark 30 percent of the full budget package for climate objectives, a win for campaigners. They also agreed to create a new Just Transition Fund to help polluting regions fund a shift to cleaner industries. But that will receive €17.5 billion in total from the final deal, after the proposed allowance from the recovery fund was whittled down considerably. Poland will be able to access only 50 percent of its Just Transition Fund allocation until it commits to implementing the EUs objective of reaching climate-neutrality by 2050, but saw that as a win compared with earlier language.


Health groups were promised a “game-changer” of a program under the new budget, but — in the midst of a global pandemic — theyre sure to be disappointed. The new health program will receive €1.7 billion. Thats still up on the Commissions pre-crisis proposal,but a tiny drop compared with agriculture or regional funding. Plans to add close to €8 billion for health from the EU recovery fund were axed in final negotiations. RescEU, a separate program used to stockpile medical equipment as well as other emergency assets, will receive €3 billion in total.

Research and innovation

Horizon Europe will get €80.9 billion in total (€75.9 billion from the MFF plus €5 billion from the recovery fund). Thats €16.2 billion more than the previous budgeting period if you put aside how much went to British researchers, but research and innovation saw a big loss during negotiations after the Commission put forward a major proposal as part of its efforts to shift the budget priorities away from traditional programs.


The Digital Europe program to fund high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity got just under €6.8 billion — a huge boost from the €183 million allocated to digital under the last budget period. But it wasnt enough for the European tech industry, which in the past few weeks had pressured for a bigger budget to compete with China and the U.S. The Commission initially suggested spending €8.2 billion.


Transport infrastructure gets €11.4 billion (plus a dedicated €10 billion from regional funding), including a specified €1.4 billion for railways, a figure which is down from the last budget period. A total €5.2 billion will go to energy infrastructure, €1.8 billion for digital infrastructure and €13.2 billion for the blocs space program — all of which are small increases from the previous seven-year budget.

Development and migration

The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument will be allocated €70.8 billion from the EU budget. The bloc has spent €71.8 billion on neighborhood and development programs during the current budget period. Migration and border management programs, similarly, will get a bigger pot of cash in the new budget, but less than the Commission wanted: The deal sets a budget of €22.7 billion (the Commission asked for €30.8 billion).

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