BRUSSELS–European leaders agreed their first ever cut to the bloc’s budget Friday. The austerity budget for 2014-20 is around three percent thriftier than the previous spending plan, while sparing certain core programs such as the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Funds used to help poorer regions. Here is an outline of the budget deal: Figures Actual spending, or “payments” in EU jargon, was set at 908.4 billion euros (US$1.2 trillion), with an absolute ceiling of 960 billion euros for spending “commitments” — the maximum amount that can be allocated to programs. The commitments figure is just one percent of the bloc’s gross domestic product (GDP). Distribution Preserved spending: — Leaders agreed cuts to the EU’s farm program, the Common Agricultural Policy, but did not cut further than figures that EU President Herman Van Rompuy submitted to a failed summit in November. The CAP will receive 373.2 billion euros compared with 420.7 billion in the 2007-13 budget. About three quarters of the CAP (277.9 billion) helps farmers and productivity, and stabilizes markets, while the rest (84.9 billion) is allocated to rural development, fisheries and the environment.
— The Cohesion Funds, designed to help poorer states catch up with their peers, was allocated 325 billion, an extra 4.5 billion from proposals laid out last year. — To offset cuts to social programs, Van Rompuy proposed a new fund to address youth employment, with a budget of six billion euros to be shared between states in greatest need of getting young people into jobs.
Spending cuts: — The key growth sectors of transport, energy and telecommunications had 10 billion euros shaved off their budgets for the next seven years, leaving them with 29 billion euros.
— EU civil servants will have to tighten their belts in coming years, with 1.5 billion less at their disposal than the European Commission had asked for. The funds available for salaries, pensions and administration costs total 61.6 billion. — One billion euros was severed from the 27-member bloc’s security and justice budget — which includes consumer protection, health, asylum and immigration, leaving it with an envelope of 15.7 billion to last until 2020.