+44 (0)20 7799 6677

EU Budget: the HM Treasury report

Since 1980, HM Treasury (HMT) has reported details of the EU Budget annually to Parliament. It shows the gross and net UK contributions in the recent past, as well as the UK rebate.[1] It gives forecasts for the next few years under the 7-year Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MAFF). This document is the primary source for basic data about EU revenues and expenditures, though it often reads, one must add, like a fiercely partisan brief on behalf of the current UK government.

The current MAFF, agreed in 2013, covers the period 2014-2020, and, according to HMT, ‘achieved a real terms cut in the payment ceilings for the first time’, so that ‘the EU’s seven-year budget will cost less than 1 per cent of Europe’s gross national income for the first time in its history’[2] – which presumes they know what Europe’s or rather the EU’s, GNI will be in 2020:

Overall, the deal agreed represents a better outcome in terms of growth, jobs and competitiveness. Since spending on research, innovation and university funding has increased by over a third… The UK was also clear throughout the negotiations that there could be no change to the UK rebate and no-EU wide taxes could be introduced as new own resource.[3]

The page below, taken from the 2015 HMT report, shows the differing positions of the Commission, Parliament and Council on the 2015 budget. Despite the ‘cut’ mentioned, one may note that:

  • There is an increase of more than €2bn on the 2014 budget.
  • The 2015 budget is closer to the Commission’s proposal than to that of the Council.
  • The Commission’s own budget, that of ‘Administration’, is increased, in fact rather more than it requested.
  • That the original commitment ceiling of €141.9b in 2015 will rise to €167.6b in 2020, plus inflation.[4]

The details of the UK government’s proposal to the European Council remain confidential, so we do not know by how much the UK government’s position differed from that of the Council, and therefore whether it should be counted a victory or defeat.

Budgets can, of course, be altered by ‘amending budgets’, which have been very common in the past.[5]

EU budget - eurosceptic handbook

HM Treasury, European Union Finances 2015: statement on the 2015 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement (Cm9167, December 2015) p.7


[1] HM Treasury, European Union Finances 2015: statement on the 2015 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement (Cm9167, December 2015).

[2] (Cm9167, December 2015) p.5

[3] Nonetheless approval was obtained a new Own Resources Decision, enabling the European Commissionto raise its own funds. The paper gives no details. (Cm9167, December 2015) p.19

[4] The budget ceiling for 2015 will in the event be €161.8b, rather than €141.9 because a proportion of commitments for programmes in 2014 could not be adopted and were transferred to 2015 by a so called ‘expenditure-neutral reprofiling’ (Cm9167, December 2015) p.10

[5] For guidance on the EU budget, see:

Please specify which chapter you are reading and offer feedback using the form below.