Brussels, Nov 17 (EFE). - The Member States of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament are holding the final meeting today to approve the 2018 EU budget, a meeting that they reach with an agreement on the funding priorities, but in discrepancy on the total amount that will be needed.
"The proposal of the Council (the countries) is more conservative than that of the Parliament, which is usual. Estonian Deputy Minister of Finance, Märt Kivine, who acts as chief negotiator, since his country holds the EU presidency.
For its part, the leader of the European Parliament in negotiations, the Romanian popular MEP Siegfried Muresan, responded via Twitter that "if it is a priority, we should strengthen funding as proposed by the European Parliament (PE), do not cut it, as the Council proposes. "
This conciliation committee, which brings together the representatives of the countries (in the case of Spain, the general director of Community Funds, Jorge García Reig) with the same number of representatives of the EP, is called to end a negotiation that began in May, when the European Commission (EC) made its proposal initial.
The Community Executive requested 161,000 million euros in commitments (maximum amount of future payments to which the EU can commit) and 145,350 in payments (expenses) effective).
As usual, the Council presented in June a proposal below these figures -159,000 million in commitments and 144,000 million in payments- and the EP adopted in October a more ambitious position -162.550 million in commitments and 146.640 million in payments-.
However, the three institutions agree that the 2018 budget should give priority to the fight against unemployment, in particular among the youngest, and measures to curb illegal immigration and improve security and control of the external borders of the Union.
Sources of the Council assure that the countries arrive at the negotiation with a "united line very solid" as far as the main departures, but they warn that the challenge will be find "the middle point" between their scenario, which they define as "very realistic", with that of the Eurocámara, which they refer to as "aspirational".
They anticipate that the agreement, if reached, will arrive well entry early Saturday morning.
If they fail to seal a pact, the Commission will have to submit a new draft and negotiations will continue for a few weeks.
The 2018 will be the last budget to 28, since the UK is expected to leave the community club ("brexit") in March 2019, which will leave a hole between 10,000 and 12,000 million euros in the European coffers, according to the calculations of the EC.
However, the discussion on how to fill the gap that will create the march of a net contributor will take place during the negotiation on the next EU multi-annual financial framework, which will set the spending ceilings for the period 2021-2027.
The Commission will not present its proposal until May 2018, But the Executive has already instructed several departments to study the consequences of "brexit" on items such as cohesion funds or employment.