Earlier in July the EU ambassadors agreed the Council’s position on the 2018 EU draft budget, ahead of the negotiations with the European Parliament starting in October. The Council’s position for 2018 amounts to €158.9 billion in commitments and €144.4 billion in payments, up by 0.6% and 7.4% respectively compared to the 2017 EU budget. Payments increase significantly because the implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes is expected to reach “cruising speed” following the initial start-up period. EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 would count with €10.6 billion in commitments and €10.8 billion in payments, which is an increase by 2.6% and 5.8% respectively compared to the 2017 EU budget. Regarding Erasmus+, the proposal foresees €2.3 billion in commitments, an increase of 9.5%, and €2.1 billion in payments an increase of 13.1%.