The 27-strong College of Commissioners will discuss Lewandowski's proposal today (23 November).
The draft proposal, seen by EurActiv, closely mirrors the text which was nearly agreed upon on 15 November, when the European Parliament and EU member states failed to reach agreement on the 2011 budget (see ‘Background’).
The new proposal is designed to "maximise the chances for Council and Parliament to reach an early agreement," reads the draft, which complies with UK demands to cap any EU budget increase at 2.91%.
But it also includes a series of declarations over sensitive political matters such as new "own resources" for the EU budget, which the Parliament wants to see addressed in the negotiations against the will of member states.
"It is still a work in progress," said Patrizio Fiorilli, spokesperson for EU Budget Commissioner Lewandowski, underlining that the document on the table remains subject to changes.
In its revised proposal, Lewandowski reaffirms the "qualified majority voting" system for tapping into so-called "flexible" EU funds, up to a maximum of 0.03% of Gross National Income (GNI).
The issue led to the collapse of negotiations earlier this month, with some member states pushing for a unanimity voting system on using these funds.
In order to reconcile positions, the Commission intends to introduce a "new condition of strict neutrality" in the use of flexible funds. This means that "the 2007-2013 global amount of the Multiannual Financial Framework ceilings shall not be increased, both in commitments and in payments, and a requirement of some redeployment," reads the draft text.
With no agreement on the budget, the EU's contribution to the funding of ITER, an international project to build an experimental fusion reactor in France, could be put in jeopardy, says the draft document. This "could also represent a set-back in terms of the credibility of the Union vis-à-vis its international partners," it warns.
In its draft proposal, the Commission also maintains a political declaration on the sensitive issue of "own resources" – codeword for an EU tax – which member states wanted to keep out of negotiations over the 2011 budget against the Parliament's will.
On this sensitive topic, Lewandowski urges all the EU institutions "to promote consultation and the reconciliation of the positions". He wants to convene top-level "regular meetings" when the issue is addressed again during talks on the next long-term budget for 2014-2020.
"With regard to the Union's own resources, the Commission will provide the necessary information to the European Parliament, and the Council, in order to pave the way for an effective consultation of the European Parliament under Article 311 of the Treaty and to facilitate the implementation of the Treaty provisions on the Union's Own Resources," reads the draft text.
Taking into account new tasks induced by the Lisbon Treaty, the Commission says it is ready to examine ways of increasing spending flexibility within the EU's next long-term budget for 2014-2020.
This can be done by "allowing the transfer by the Budgetary Authority of unused commitment/payment appropriations to the budget of the following year and their reallocation to other priorities".
The Commission is also committed to taking into account "the synergies between the EU and national budgets for specific policies, and the corresponding savings," in its proposals for the 2014-2020 budget.
This exercise will feed into a detailed report on the "Cost of non-Europe," where the European added value will be clearly demonstrated.
In particular, "the Commission will propose to launch a pilot project on the European added value and the synergies between the EU and national budgets in areas such as external action, research and development policy," read the draft text.
If today’s Commission meeting proves unsuccessful, the EU executive will have until "1 December at the latest" to propose a new draft budget. This will allow the Council and the Parliament enough time to discuss the new proposal in order to secure a final agreement at the European Summit on 16 and 17 December.
In case there is no agreement, the EU would still have a budget, although only on a monthly basis using a system of so-called "provisional twelfths".
This is expected to have a negative impact on the funding of key projects for which larger financial resources are necessary, such as ITER.
To deal with this possibility, the Commission is preparing a further proposal aimed at using "additional twelfths". The Treaty authorises the Commission "to present proposals to the Budgetary Authority to authorise expenditure in excess of one twelfth without exceeding the overall level authorised by provisional twelfths".
For that purpose, Lewandowski will present proposals "on the measures necessary for the implementation of provisional twelfths as well as a possible request for additional twelfths," reads the draft text.