2012 EU BUDGET : UNDER-FUNDED RESEARCH LINES GET TOP-UP TRANSFER FROM EERP.
After intense haggling, a compromise has been found to secure pre-financing payments for around 200 grant agreements in the field of research. In total, an additional 485 million will be made available for projects in the areas of health, agriculture, biotechnology and nanotechnology bytransferring money from funds earmarked for but not spent on energy projects under the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP).
On 20 April, the Commission presented a request to beef up three budget lines under the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) arguing that the cut by more than 1 billion in payments under Heading 1a (competitiveness) made by Council and EP to its draft 2012 budget contributed to a shortage. A blocking minority in Council opposed the transfer. In the end, member states decided, in early June, to reduce the proposed amount to 147 million pending further information from the Commission.
Angered by the Council's move, members of the Committee on Budgets (BUDG) decided, on 21 June, to break with the usual practice of sending back the entire surplus of the previous budgetary year - 1.5 billion - to member states. Instead, they suggested using 0.73 billon to reinforce payments for research and cohesion policy.
The following day, the Commission came up with a new request for a transfer of 338 million in payments - the missing amount to get to 485 million - which the Committee of Permanent Representatives green-lighted, on 2 July.
In exchange for the goodwill of the Council, the plenary modified its position on Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 3 to the 2012 EU budget and decided, on 5 July, to send back the entire 2011 surplus to member states.an