The European Union follows specific aims and values that, from an operative point of view, are translated into the EU priorities found in the its strategic agenda and political guidelines. Both the strategic agenda with its 4 blocks and the political guidelines tackling the 6 EU priorities are expected to guide the work of the EU institutions and governments over 5 years, from 2019 until 2024.

To achieve the EU agenda and priorities, the EU counts on a EU budget fully dedicated in a long-term spending plans. These plans are known as multiannual financial frameworks (MFFs) and run for a period of 5-7 years. The current MFF with a budget 1074.3 billion runs from 2021 to 2027 and overlaps with the 2019-2024 strategic agenda. On top of the MFFs, the EU created in 2020 the NextGenerationEU, a recovery plan of €750 billion, that not only intends to relieve the consequences of the pandemic at short-term but to accelerate the EU strategic agenda.

  1. A European Green Deal
  2. A Europe fit for the digital age
  3. An economy that works for people
  4. A stronger Europe in the world
  5. Promoting our European way of life
  6. A new push for European democracy

It is worth mentioning that in contrast to the previous long term budget, the 2021-2027 one presents new priorities and areas of investment. While in the 1980s, the bulk of the EU budget went to agriculture and, in the 1990s, to cohesion, eventually, agriculture and cohesion investment shares have declined to approximately 30% each of them. New areas of investment aligned with the strategic agenda and political guidelines are research, education, trans-European networks, border protection and external action. All these areas aim to increase the EU value in the global scenario. Beside these new areas of investment, investment in agriculture and cohesion is also following the green and digital transitions priority, making the current long-term budget a truly modern budget.

The MMFs 2021-2027 and the NextGenerationEU have 7 main areas (headings) of expenditures and 20 funds:

  • Heading 1. Single market, innovation and digital (8%). To unlock future growth (new priorities)
  • Heading 2. Cohesion, resilience and values (59%). Strengthening the resilience and cohesion between the EU Member States. To this end, the funding helps reduce disparities in and between EU regions
  • Heading 3. Natural resources and environment (20.8%). To drive sustainability and to invest in sustainable agriculture and maritime sectors, along with climate action, environmental protection, food security and rural development
  • Heading 4. Migration and border management (1.27%). This heading seeks to tackle the challenges linked to migration and the management of the EU’s external borders.
  • Heading 5. Security and defense (0,73%). To improve the security and safety of Europe’s citizens, to strengthen Europe’s defense capacities, and to provide the tools needed to respond to internal and external security challenges.
  • Heading 6. Neighborhood and the world (5.5%). To reinforce the EU socio-economic impact in its neighborhood, in developing countries and in the rest of the world.
  • Heading 7. European public administration (4%). To deliver EU priorities, and to implement policies and

Currently, the largest share of the budget goes on helping to build a greener and more resilient Europe. Ensuring a successful digital transition, strengthening cohesion policies (to help poorer regions in the EU) and nurturing innovation also account for a major share of the budget. Other areas of expenditure include combating illegal migration, improving border management, and enhancing security. All in all, more than 50% of the long-term budget and NextGenerationEU budget is allocated in the new investment areas tacking the EU priorities, which is mainly distributed in the first 3 headings through different funds as following:

  1. Research and Innovation investment area, via Horizon Europe Fund;
  2. Fair Climate and Digital Transitions investment areas, via the Just Transition Fund and the Digital Europe programme;
  3. Preparedness, Recovery and Resilience investment areas, via the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism (rescEU), and the health programme, EU4Health.


In Zirka InnoTech we focus on the new investment areas and the Neighborhood and the world heading 6.



Source: The EU’s 2021-2027 long-term Budget and NextGenerationEU. Facts and Figures. 2021.