This week, a three-week conciliation period starts with the aim of reaching a deal between the Council and the European Parliament on the EU budget for 2016.

This follows the adoption by the Parliament on October 28, 2015 of possible amendments for the 2016 budget that were not acceptable to the Council.

In its draft budget for 2016 the European Commission proposed to set the total level of commitments at €153.83 billion and of payments at €143.54 billion. This is a decrease of 5.2% in commitments and an increase of 1.6% in payments compared to the 2015 budget as amended by amending budgets one to seven.

The Council’s position, adopted on September 4 by unanimity, amounts to €153.27 billion in commitments (-5.5%) and €142.12 billion in payments (+0.6%).

The European Parliament asks for total commitments to be increased to €157.43 billion (-3.0%) and total payments to €146.46 billion (+3.7%). This is €1.5 billion and €1.3 billion respectively above the ceilings of the multiannual financial framework.

Conciliation will also cover proposals aimed at increasing support for the most vulnerable Member States, the relocation of refugees and the migration and border funds by €1.55 billion in commitments and €1.42 billion in payments from the 2016 budget.

Neither the Council nor the Parliament has yet taken a position on the amending letter, however…the Commission is proposing to reinforce expenditure for agriculture by €660.7m compared to Draft Budget 2016.

This increase of needs is mainly due to the financial consequences of the temporary support measures following the extension of the Russian embargo on imports of certain agricultural products from the EU as well as for some additional measures to support sectors facing difficult market situations, in particular dairy and pigmeat.

When excluding the impact of these extraordinary measures, amounting to almost €700m the updated estimates for EAGF expenditure are €37m lower compared to the Draft Budget 2016.

The Commission proposed that €42.86 billion of the 2016 EU Budget is for farmers; over a third of the total budget.

A major part of the money that Ireland receives from the EU goes towards agriculture, rural development and conservation (82% in 2013).