(Strasbourg) An additional €2 billion to protect the climate, and more funds for the Youth Employment Initiative, Erasmus+, SMEs, research, digitalisation, migration, and humanitarian aid. This is the position on the 2020 Budget adopted by the European Parliament at its plenary session in Strasbourg today (529 votes in favour, 130 against, 43 abstentions). The total annual budget would rise to €159 billion, that is, an increase of 2.7 billion compared to the Commission’s proposed budget. But this may not be the last word. Indeed, the plenary vote kicks off three weeks of “conciliation” talks with the Council, with the aim of reaching a deal by November. If no agreement is reached, the Commission must table a new draft budget. German MEP Monika Hohlmeier (pictured), general rapporteur for next year’s budget, stated: “Today’s vote on the 2020 Budget shows Parliament’s united front and a common understanding among the political groups: ambitious climate targets and environmental protection can go hand in hand with programmes that create new jobs, support European research and development facilities and boost competitiveness. MEPs also confirmed our commitment to further increase the Youth Employment Initiative, the exchange programme Erasmus+ and DiscoverEU, a highly successful project to provide 18-year-olds with Interrail tickets to give them the opportunity to discover a Europe without borders”.