There are in fact two types of EU budgets. There is the long-term budget, known as the multi-annual framework, which establishes the annual spending limits. This is negotiated ever seven years. There is also the annual budget, which sets out in more detail how the EU should spend its budget over the coming year.
Tonight at the European Parliament there will be a vote on whether Miguel Arias Canete, nicknamed "Senor Petrolhead" by the Sunday Times, will be accepted as the new EU commissioner for Climate and Energy. To cut a long story short, Canete has long embedded family ties with the oil industry so if common sense were to prevail, he would not be appointed.
The name raised a few eyebrows in Brussels when he was announced as the nominee for the UK's spot in the European Commission. Lord Jonathan Hill of Oareford, the leader of the House of Lords, is little known abroad and his appointment is far from guaranteed as he will be subjected to a careful vetting process over the coming months.
For the past nine months I've been living within the EU bubble in Brussels. The city is full of lobbyists, politicians and the odd ego so it's almost identical to what we see back home in Westminster. The European Parliament and UK Parliament may be miles away in geography; they are also hugely separated in terms of our understanding of how each functions...
They are meant to give young people a taste of work, but traineeship are fast becoming a necessary, if poorly rewarded, precondition to launching their careers. Work placements are often abused as a form of cheap labour, with youngsters being given no training and little or no pay and sometimes being given simple, menial tasks like photocopying and making tea that do not make use of their skills and education. The European Parliament has now called for an end to this exploitation.
Setting a budget is a difficult exercise at the best of times. Even when money is plentiful, it is never unlimited, so tough choices have to be made. Now imagine 27 countries, all with their own of difficulties and preferences, having to decide about billions of euros for a seven-year period in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the great depression.