The Council and the European Parliament today reached agreement on the EU’s annual budget for 2024.
Some EU agencies did not manage last year’s finances as well as in previous years, according to the European Court of Auditors. In its annual report on the 43 EU agencies that is published today, the auditors again signed off the agencies’ 2022 accounts and revenue, but were not in a position to issue a clean opinion to four agencies about the way they spent EU funds.
MEPs boost the 2024 EU budget to tackle the fallout from Russia’s war against Ukraine, support SMEs, young people and research, and bolster the EU’s strategic autonomy. The EU budget is unique. Unlike national budgets, which are used in large part to provide public services and funding social security systems, the EU budget is primarily an investment budget.
One of MEPs’ key demands is that assets from the Russian Federation or other entities or individuals directly connected with Russia’s war of aggression be used to reconstruct Ukraine. Parliament strengthened the provisions on the fight against fraud, corruption, conflicts of interest and irregularities in the use of EU funds in Ukraine. Companies under oligarchic influence should not be eligible for funding, MEPs added.
Today’s payment of €2.76 billion in grants and loans was made possible by Romania’s fulfilment of 49 milestones and targets linked to the second instalment. They cover key reforms in the areas of the green and digital transition, such as the adoption of the decarbonisation law and the entry into force of the law for the governance of cloud services deployed in the public sector. Romania has also put forward reforms to improve its public policy
This support will help Ukraine to continue paying wages and pensions, and keep essential public services running, such as hospitals, schools, and housing for relocated people. It will also allow Ukraine to ensure macroeconomic stability and restore critical infrastructure destroyed by Russia in its war of aggression, such as energy infrastructure, water systems, transport networks, roads and bridges.
Today, in Bratislava, the Commission has launched a project helping Slovakia simplify and speed up the use of their cohesion funds. The project will explore how to reduce red tape, enhance accountability, boost the administrative capacity of stakeholders, and better meet the needs of EU funds’ beneficiaries.
The Commission has today paid €1.5 billion under the Macro-financial Assistance + package for Ukraine worth up to €18 billion. With this instrument, the EU seeks to help Ukraine cover its immediate funding needs, with stable, predictable, and sizeable financial support in 2023. With today’s payment, Ukraine has so far received €12 billion this year under Macro-financial Assistance +.
Twenty-three NATO Allies have officially become Limited Partners of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF), which is preparing to make its initial investments later this year. The Participating Allies have also welcomed Sweden’s interest to join the NIF. Sweden’s participation will take effect upon its accession to the North Atlantic Treaty.
Once a Member State has fulfilled all the relevant milestones and targets to unlock a Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) disbursement, it can submit a payment request. Following a positive assessment by the Commission, taking into account the opinion of the Council, the amount linked to the fulfilment of the set of milestones and targets is disbursed.
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