"Member States accepted our terms for the budget the EU needs to meet its challenges. The agreement on the 2016 budget is extremely positive and respects all the EPP Group priorities, as it is a €155 billion budget aimed at promoting employment and solidarity," stated the EPP Group Spokesman in the Budgets Committee, José Manuel Fernandes MEP.

This agreement undoes all the cuts that the Council proposed to the Commission's draft budget, but also reinforces the expenditure commitment by more than €2.8 billion over the Commission's draft budget.

"We took the budget to the limit, using all possible resources and the entire flexibility instrument to effectively respond to the challenge of promoting employment and aid to refugees," added Mr. Fernandes.

In fact, several programmes that are pivotal to promoting jobs saw their funds rise above the Commission's proposal, such as the €31.8 million for Horizon 2020 (a research and innovation programme), €14.2 million for COSME (a programme to fund SMEs) and €6.6 million for Erasmus+ (a programme to support youth education).

The Youth Employment Initiative, already fully frontloaded, will be evaluated in 2016 and should be able to continue, taking into account the outcome of that evaluation.

Also an extra €500 million will be mobilised for farmers coping with the milk crisis and the Russian embargo.

"There is about €4 billion in the 2016 EU Budget to promote solidarity, internally, towards the refugees inside our borders, reinforcing the agencies, the funds and programmes linked to this issue, and also to tackle the problem at its origins, externally, focusing on prevention, strengthening humanitarian aid and the required tools for development and cooperation," explained the Portuguese MEP, concluding that the "2016 EU Budget will promote employment and solidarity".

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States

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