Determining the EU budget

The budget is a special type of decision to establish the annual budget of the European Union. It is a legally binding act. Over the course of a year the budget is amended to adapt and adjust to changing realities and financial breaks and setbacks.


Budget in detail

Area of application

Specific titles of and chapters in the budget are directly applicable to the member states. These stipulate the precise contribution of the member states to the budget and, in some areas, how much the member states will draw receive out of the budget. Implementing the budget is, to a large extent, the responsibility of the member states.

The budget has to meet very specific requirements. These are the most important:

  • 1. 
    unity: the entire budget is drawn up in a single document. Only revenue and expenditure in the budget is authorised. Amendments may refer to specific budget lines
  • 2. 
    universality: revenue cannot be reserved for use for specific posts. Thus ensures expenditure can be financed by general means, rather then to be depended on a specific contribution to the budget
  • 3. 
    annuality: all revenue and expenditure is tied to a single budget and should, as a matter of principle, not affect other budgets
  • 4. 
    equilibrium: revenue and expenditure have to be equal. The EU is not allowed to borrow money to cover expenditures. Any excess revenue will be divided between the member states
  • 5. 
    specification: all revenue and expenditure are to be put in a budget line. With a few exceptions, changes within the budget require amending proposals

Acts that amend the budget have to meet the same set of requirements.

Adopting budgets

The EU has a special budgetary procedure with which to adopt the budget.


Legal framework

The budget is based on the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TfEU).


Further information