Source AP ©

EU increases funds for research and development

EU legislators sought to enlarge funds for development and research in EU budget next year, a package that is supposed to be about Ђ5 billion (US$7.12 billion) higher than what was initially approved.

The European Parliament added money for the planned Galileo satellite navigation system and an EU technology institute and increased aid to Kosovo and the Palestinians, for a package envisaging payments of Ђ124.2 billion (US$176.74 billion), or 0.99 percent of the union's Gross National Income.

The EU governments proposed payments of Ђ119.4 billion (US$170 billion) in the first round of the budget's legislative review. The European Parliament and member states will have to reach a compromise by the end of the year.

The 2008 budget envisages spending more on growth and employment than on agriculture for the first time.

The EU executive is limited by an annual ceiling agreed to by the EU member states as part of an overall 2007-2013 long-term financial package.

A large part of the EU budget is spent on handouts to farmers, and that will not change until at least 2009, when the long-term budget will be reviewed by member states.

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