EU FINANCES

Spain to remain net recipient in new European budget

Rajoy happy with deal that will bring in the equivalent of 0.20 percent of nation's GDP

European Union leaders on Friday agreed a budget for the bloc that covers the period 2014-2020 in which Spain will remain a net recipient of funding rather than a net contributor as proposed in an initial draft.

In a news conference in Brussels after the agreement, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy welcomed the accord under which Spain will receive funding equivalent to 0.20 percent of its GDP.

“After an arduous, long and laborious process […] we have obtained a good agreement,” he said. “We will receive more than we put in; the net balance is 0.20 percent of GDP, compared with 0.15 percent for the current period 2007-2013, and, therefore we can feel happy,” he said.

The overall budget includes a spending cap of 960 billion euros, 13 billion less than initially proposed. Outlays will mostly go to agriculture, cohesion spending and scientific research.

Rajoy said the budget represented a show of support for the policies being carried out by countries such as Spain and others within the bloc.

The Spanish leader highlighted the creation of a three-billion-euro fund to tackle youth unemployment in Europe, of which Spain will receive a third. The unemployment rate in Spain for workers under 25 years old is 55 percent.

Spain will also receive a special development fund worth 1.8 billion euros for the regions. Despite the cut in the overall budget, Spain maintained its allotment for its farmers of 35 billion euros in direct aid and an increase of three percent to 8.3 billion euros in assistance for rural development.

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