The Commission has today proposed an EU budget of €166.7 billion for 2021, to be complemented by €211 billion in grants and approximately €133 billion in loans under Next Generation EU, the temporary recovery instrument aimed at mobilising investments and kick-starting the European economy. Together, the annual budget and Next Generation EU will mobilise significant investments in 2021 to address the immediate economic and social damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, kick-start a sustainable recovery and protect and create jobs. The budget is also fully in line with the commitment to invest in the future in order to achieve a greener, more digital and resilient Europe.
Once adopted, this will be the first budget under the new 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and the first annual budget proposed by President von der Leyen‘s Commission.
Commissioner Johannes Hahn responsible for the EU Budget stated: “In these extraordinary times, the European Commission’s proposal mobilises unprecedented support. The annual budget 2021 will help hundreds of thousands of people, companies and regions to overcome the crisis and emerge stronger than before. To make it happen, we need an agreement on the long-term budget and Next Generation EU – a deal that will send a signal of confidence throughout Europe.”
The draft budget 2021, boosted by Next Generation EU, directs funds to where they can make the greatest difference, in line with the most crucial recovery needs of the EU Member States and our partners around the world.
The funding will help rebuild and modernise our Union, by fostering the green and digital transitions, creating jobs and strengthening Europe’s role in the world.
The budget reflects Europe’s priorities, which are relevant to ensure a sustainable recovery. To that end, the Commission is proposing to allocate:
– €1.34 billion for Digital Europe programme for the Union’s cyber-defences and support the digital transition;
– €3 billion for Connecting Europe Facility in an up-to-date, high-performance transport infrastructure to facilitate cross-border connections;
– €575 million for the Single Market Programme, €36.2 million and €127 million respectively for the programmes supporting cooperation in the fields of taxation and customs;
– €2.89 billion for Erasmus Plus to invest in young people, as well as €306 million for the cultural and creative sectors through Creative Europe;
– €1.1 billion for the Asylum and Migration Fund and €1.0 billion for Integrated Border Management Fund to step up cooperation on external border management as well as migration and asylum policy;
– €55.2 billion for the Common Agricultural Policy and €813 million for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, for Europe’s farmers and fishermen, but also to strengthen the resilience of the agri-food and fisheries sectors and to provide the necessary scope for crisis management;
– €228 million for the Internal Security Fund and €1.05 million for the European Defence Fund to support the European strategic autonomy and security;
– €1.9 billion for pre-accession assistance, to support our neighbours, including in the Western Balkans;
In addition, large part of the funds will go to the priority actions identified in connection with Next Generation EU, including:
– €131.5 billion of loans and approximately €133 billion of grants can be provided to Member States under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, as part of Next Generation EU;
– €17.3 billion for Horizon Europe, to increase European support for health and climate-related research and innovation activities, of which €5 billion under Next Generation EU;
– €10.13 billion for InvestEU, to invest in sustainable infrastructure, innovation and digitisation. Part of the money will be for the Strategic Investment Facility, to build strategic autonomy in vital supply chains at European level;
– €8.28 billion for the Solvency Support Instrument as proposed by Next Generation EU, to address the solvency concerns of viable companies from all economic sectors;
– €47.15 billion for cohesion policy, to be complemented by €42.45 billion under REACT-EU as proposed under Next Generation EU. The money will go for employment subsidies, short time work schemes and youth employment measures; liquidity and solvency for SMEs;
– €9.47 billion for the Just Transition Fund to make sure the transition towards climate neutrality leaves nobody behind, of which €7.96 billion under Next Generation EU;
– €619 million for rescEU, the Union civil protection mechanism, to make sure the Union has the capacity to respond to large-scale emergencies;
– €1.19 billion for EU4Health, the new health programme, which will equip our Union against future health threats; of which €1.17 billion from Next Generation EU;
– €15.36 billion for our external partners through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) of which €3.29 billion under Next Generation EU;
– €2.8 billion for humanitarian aid, of which €1.3 billion under Next Generation EU, for the growing humanitarian needs in the most vulnerable parts of the world.
The draft budget for 2021 is based on the Commission’s proposal for the EU’s next long-term budget as put forward on 27 May 2020. Once the European Parliament and the Council agree on the MFF 2021-2027, including Next Generation EU, the Commission will adapt its proposal for the 2021 budget accordingly through an amending letter.
It is essential that the draft budget is adopted swiftly so that hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, researchers, farmers, and municipalities across Europe can start benefitting from the funds, thus investing in a better future for next generations.
The draft 2021 EU budget includes expenditure under Next Generation EU that will be financed from borrowing at the capital markets and the expenditure covered by the appropriations under the long-term budget ceilings which are financed from own resources. For the latter, two amounts for each programme are proposed – commitments and payments. “Commitments” refers to the funding that can be agreed in contracts in a given year; “payments” to the money actually paid out. The proposed 2021 EU budget amounts to €166.7 billion in commitments (-9.7% compared to 2020) and €163.5 billion in payments (+0.8% compared to 2020). This is the first budget for EU 27, after the withdrawal of the UK and the end of the transition period.
Presidents of Parliament to gather for Athens Summit
Presidents of Parliament from the 47 Council of Europe member states, as well as many neighbouring and observer countries and other partner parliamentary assemblies, will meet on 21 and 22 October 2021 in Athens, on the occasion of a conference organised by the Hellenic Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
The Conference will be opened by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Constantine An. Tassoulas, PACE President Rik Daems, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić.
Some 60 Presidents and Speakers, together with 300 other delegates, are expected at the biennial summit to discuss three major topical issues:
- Democracies facing the Covid-19 public health crisis: sharing experiences
Key-note speeches by the President of the Romanian Senate Anca Dana Dragu; the Speaker of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko; and the President of Austria’s National Council Wolfgang Sobotka.
- ‘#EnvironmentRightNow’: national parliaments and the right to a healthy and sustainable environment
Key-note speeches by the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Kakha Kuchava; the Speaker of the Parliament of Finland Anu Vehviläinen, and a member of the Council of Europe Advisory Council on Youth, Spyros Papadatos.
- The common future of all European citizens
Key-note speeches by the President of the Belgian Senate Stephanie D’Hose; the President of the Cypriot House of Representatives, Anita Demetriou; and the President of the Slovenian National Assembly, Igor Zorčič.
Secretaries General of the participating parliaments and assemblies are also due to meet on the margin of the conference.
The first conference was held in 1975. It takes place every two years, hosted alternately in Strasbourg or in the capital of a Council of Europe member state. At the invitation of the Hellenic Parliament, it is held this year in Athens, when the country celebrates the bicentennial of its independence.
Lorenzo Natali Media prize 2021: Winners announced
The European Commission announced the three winners of the 2021 ‘Lorenzo Natali’ Media prize: Pari Saikia, for her work on the plight of the Rohingya, Maria Altimira, for her work on the labour exploitation of migrants and Srishti Jaswal for bringing to light the hunger situation in India. For nearly three decades, the prize has recognised courageous journalism and focused on compelling, compassionate reporting that brings to light stories that matter on the global challenges impacting society.
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, presented the prizes to the winners at today’s award ceremony: “This award of this year’s Lorenzo Natali Media prize, recognizes three exceptional journalists, whose work exemplifies the courage, integrity and dedication to global equity. As development journalists you help bring about change – whether it is tackling inequalities, protecting universal human rights, or responding to the existential threat of climate change.”
The 2021 prizewinners, selected by a grand jury from among more than 1,100 applications from across the world, are:
Pari Saikia of Vice Media India, for:
“Rohingya Brides Thought They Were Fleeing Violence. Then They Met Their Grooms”
Pari Saikia’s story on the exploitation of Rohingya refugee women exposes the drivers and the methods used in trafficking women in the region.
Maria Altimira writing in Diario Ara, for:
“Abusos en los campos de fresas”
In this piece, Maria Altimira shines a light on the labour and sexual abuse suffered by farm workers, and attempts to hold oversight agencies accountable for abuses happening on their watch.
Best Emerging Journalist prize
Srishti Jaswal, writing in Stories Asia, for:
“The Global Hunger Index Reveals India’s Ignored Hunger Crisis”
Srishti Jaswal’s investigation reveals India’s hidden hunger crisis and the under-reporting of deaths due to starvation.
The winners were chosen by a Grand Jury of experts in the fields of journalism and development:
- Diana Moukalled (Daraj.com)
- Sulemana Braimah (Media Foundation for West Africa)
- Jana Ciglerová (Denik N)
- Zuliana Lainez (International Federation of Journalists)
- Steve Sapienza (Pulitzer Center).
All entries underwent an initial pre-selection phase conducted by four journalism schools: Vesalius College in Brussels, Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Lisbon, Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona and Université Saint Joseph in Beirut.
Established in 1992, the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Media Prize is awarded in memory of Lorenzo Natali, a former Commissioner for Development and Cooperation. He was a staunch defender of freedom of expression, democracy, human rights and development.
The prize recognises high-quality, courageous reporting on compelling issues such as climate change, women´s rights, inequality, healthcare, democracy and human rights.
The prize’s three categories in 2021 were:
- Grand prize: for reporting published by a media outlet based in one of the European Union’s partner countries.
- Europe prize: for reporting published by a media outlet based in the European Union.
- Best Emerging Journalist prize: for reporting by journalists under the age of 30, published in a media outlet based in the European Union or in one of its partner countries.
70% of the EU adult population fully vaccinated
Today, the EU has reached a crucial milestone with 70% of the adult population now fully vaccinated. In total, over 256 million adults in the EU have now received a full vaccine course. Seven weeks ago already, the Commission’s delivery target was met, ahead of time: to provide Member States, by the end of July, with enough vaccine doses to fully vaccinate 70% of the adult EU population.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “The full vaccination of 70% of adults in the EU already in August is a great achievement. The EU’s strategy of moving forward together is paying off and putting Europe at the vanguard of the global fight against COVID-19. But the pandemic is not over. We need more. I call on everyone who can to get vaccinated. And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too. Europe will continue to support its partners in this effort, in particular the low and middle income countries.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “I am very pleased that as of today we have reached our goal to vaccinate 70% of EU adults before the end of the summer. This is a collective achievement of the EU and its Member States that shows what is possible when we work together with solidarity and in coordination. Our efforts to further increase vaccinations across the EU will continue unabated. We will continue to support in particular those Member States that are continuing to face challenges. We need to close the immunity gap and the door for new variants and to do so, vaccinations must win the race over variants.”
Global cooperation and solidarity
The rapid, full vaccination of all targeted populations – in Europe and globally – is key to controlling the impact of the pandemic. The EU has been leading the multilateral response. The EU has exported about half of the vaccines produced in Europe to other countries in the world, as much as it has delivered for its citizens. Team Europe has contributed close to €3 billion for the COVAX Facility to help secure at least 1.8 billion doses for 92 low and lower middle-income countries. Currently, over 200 million doses have been delivered by COVAX to 138 countries.
In addition, Team Europe aims to share at least 200 million more doses of vaccines secured under the EU’s advance purchase agreements to low and middle-income countries until the end of 2021, in particular through COVAX, as part of the EU sharing efforts.
Preparing for new variants
Given the threat of new variants, it is important to continue ensuring the availability of sufficient vaccines, including adapted vaccines, also in the coming years. That is why the Commission signed a new contract with BioNTech-Pfizer on 20 May, which foresees the delivery of 1.8 billion doses of vaccines between the end of the year and 2023. For the same purpose, the Commission has also exercised the option of 150 million doses of the second Moderna contract. Member States have the possibility to resell or donate doses to countries in need outside the EU or through the COVAX Facility, contributing to a global and fair access to vaccines across the world. Other contracts may follow. This is the EU’s common insurance policy against any future waves of COVID-19.
A safe and effective vaccine is our best chance to beat coronavirus and return to our normal lives. The European Commission has been working tirelessly to secure doses of potential vaccines that can be shared with all.
The European Commission has secured up to 4.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far and negotiations are underway for additional doses. The Commission is also working with industry to step up vaccine manufacturing capacity.
At the same time, the Commission has started work to tackle new variants, aiming to rapidly develop and produce effective vaccines against these variants on a large scale. The HERA Incubator helps in responding to this threat.
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