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EU reaches deal on 2020 budget, boosts funds for climate change, EU borders

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By Reuters
EU reaches deal on 2020 budget, boosts funds for climate change, EU borders
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman   -   Copyright  Yves Herman(Reuters)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments, parliament and the executive Commission reached a deal late on Monday on the bloc’s 2020 budget that boosts spending on fighting climate change, EU border protection and setting up Europe’s own satellite system.

The 2020 budget is the last annual spending plan of the EU’s seven-year budget, which is equal to 1% of the 28-nation bloc’s gross national income.

Next year, the EU has committed to finance projects worth 168.7 billion euros (£144.16 billion), of which 21% will go to measures to fight climate change.

The 2020 budget envisages some 60 billion euros to support farmers, fisheries and biodiversity and almost 59 billion to reduce economic and social differences between European regions.

A further almost 25 billion euros will go to support research and innovation in the EU, youth education programmes, small and medium sized companies and Europe’s Galileo satellite scheme that is to make the EU independent from the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).

Another 14 billion euros will finance EU security, humanitarian aid and the newly created European border guard with an operational staff of 10,000 and own equipment to manage the EU’s external borders.

The next seven-year budget will start from 2021 and last until the end of 2027. It is under tough negotiations now because it will no longer include Britain, a large net contributor, as London wants to leave the EU on Jan 31, 2020.

If there is no agreement by late next year on whether the funding gap left by Britain should be filled and by whom, the 2020 budget agreed on Monday will be replicated in 2021 until the longer-term spending plan is in place.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski. Editing by Lincoln Feast.)