European Union budget

All EU member states make a financial contribution to the implementation of EU policy. Most of that money goes to the agricultural sector. However, European funds are also spent on research and innovation.

Adoption of EU multiannual budget

The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the EU budget is adopted once every 7 years. It sets out the maximum sums that the EU can spend each year on various categories of expenditure. It also contains agreements on how resources in these categories are allocated and how the EU budget is funded. A new MFF has started in 2014.

EU multiannual budget 2014-2020

On 8 February 2013 the European Council agreed on a new MFF for the EU budget for the period 2014-2020. The Netherlands succeeded in the negotiations, achieving results in each of its 3 target areas.

  • The government wanted to see a significant reduction in the budget. The overall expenditure ceiling for the MFF 2014-2020 (€ 960 billion) is €34 billion lower than the ceiling for the multiannual budget 2007-2013.
  • The government wanted to preserve the reduction in its contributions to the EU. It successfully achieved this aim, securing an average reduction of €1.1 billion. 
  • Finally, compared with the previous budget period, resources are being shifted away from agriculture and the structural funds to research and innovation. That was another clear goal of the Netherlands.

On 27 June 2013 agreement was reached with the European Parliament on the MFF 2014-2020.

Annual EU budget

The Council and the European Parliament adopt the annual EU budget. The budget must stay within the limits laid down in the MFF. The EU is not permitted to run a budget deficit.

Management and control of EU resources

Each year the European Court of Auditors gives its opinion on the reliability of the EU’s accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions in the form of a statement of assurance.

Management and control of EU resources in the Netherlands

The Dutch Ministry of Finance is jointly responsible for the management and control of EU resources, as part of central government’s auditing policy. The Ministry also coordinates the Netherlands’ contribution to:

  • the financial management of the EU budget;
  • the management of EU grant funds in the Netherlands.

National declaration

Member states are also free to draw up their own national declaration on the functioning of the control systems and the regularity of expenditure. Each year the Dutch Minister of Finance submits such a declaration to the House of Representatives and the European Commission on behalf of the government. The Netherlands Court of Audit also gives its opinion on the declaration.

Annual summary

In addition, the Ministry of Finance draws up the annual summary for the European Commission. This is a mandatory report in which member states account for the money received from EU funds under shared management, covering the amounts claimed and the financial management and control system. It includes the results of the audits conducted by the Audit Authority, which checks whether member states have spent the money in a legitimate manner.