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  • Budget
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    The budget procedure (Art. 272 EC) starts with a preliminary draft budget formulated by the Commission, containing the estimates of expenditure and income. This preliminary draft is based on estimates made by the institutions of their expenditure and is presented to the Council not later than 1 September. A qualified majority of the Council then establishes the draft budget. If the Council wants to depart from the preliminary draft, it is must consult the Commission and the other institutions involved. The Council must present the draft budget to the Parliament no later than 5 October. The Parliament has 45 days in which to react. If it approves the draft or fails to amend the draft or propose any modifications, the budget is deemed to be adopted.

    The Parliament, by an absolute majority of its members, may propose modifications relating to obligatory expenditure and, by a majority of its members, propose modifications relating to non-obligatory expenditure. If the Parliament uses one of these possibilities, the draft budget together with the amendments or proposed modifications is forwarded to the Council.

    Obligatory expenditure is expenditure necessarily resulting from the Treaty or from acts adopted in accordance with it (e.g., agricultural expenditure). Non-obligatory expenditure involves other expenses (e.g., personnel). The distinction between the obligatory and non-obligatory expenditure is not an easy one and has therefore been determined in mutual consultation.

    The budget is deemed to be finally adopted if the Council has not, within 15 days, modified any of the amendments and if the modifications proposed have been accepted. The Council may also, within the 15-day time limit, modify the amendments relating to non-obligatory expenditure, acting by a qualified majority.

    The Council can reject the proposed amendments relating to obligatory expenditure by a qualified majority if the proposed amendment does not have the effect of increasing the total amount of the expenditure of an institution. In the absence of a decision to reject it, the proposed modification shall stand as accepted.

    If a proposed amendment has the effect of increasing the total expenditure of an institution, the Council may, acting by a qualified majority, accept this proposed amendment. In the absence of a decision to accept it, the proposed modification shall stand as rejected.

    If the Council rejects a proposed amendment, it may either retain the amount shown or fix another amount.

    In the opposite case, the modified draft budget is sent to the Parliament with the results of the Council´s deliberations. Within 15 days of the draft budget being placed before it, the Parliament may, acting by a majority of its members and three-fifths of the number of votes cast, reject or amend the modifications to its amendments relating to the non-obligatory expenditure made by the Council and may then adopt the budget accordingly. If the Parliament has not acted within this period, the budget is deemed to be adopted.

    When this procedure has been completed, or in cases in which the budget is deemed to be finally adopted, the president of the Parliament declares that the budget has been finally adopted.