Deal Sets EU Budget at $160 Billion for 2013


     (CN) - The Council of the European Union has reached an agreement with the European Parliament over a $160 billion budget for the EU in 2013.
     The 2013 spending plan , which amounts to just under one percent of the EU's gross national income, represents a 2.4 percent increase over the 2012 budget. Lawmakers said that shortfalls in the 2012 budget are being picked up in 2013's budget, adding $7.2 billion in additional obligations.
     Most of the spending -- $140 billion -- is split between encouraging Europe's sluggish economy and protecting its environment, two of the EU's top priorities. By contrast, the EU plans to spend just over $1 billion for freedom, security and justice in 2013.
     The agreement sets aside over $7 billion under the heading "The EU as a global player," and will spend just over $10 billion on its administration costs. Additionally, the budget sets aside money for "commitments," which the EU Council says are "legal promises to spend money for activities whose implementation might extend over several financial years."
     By comparison, the state of California intends to spend $142 billion in its 2012-2013 budget cycle, while President Obama submitted a $3.8 trillion 2013 budget to Congress last February.
     Europe's parliament must formally approve the final budget, and is expected to do so before Christmas.