The European Commission has adopted the EU's preliminary draft budget for 1999. This budget will cover the final year of the present financial perspective, known as the "Delors II" package. It will also be expected to smooth the transition to the new financial perspective for the years 2000-2006, reflecting the political priorities set out in Agenda 2000. This preliminary draft budget is the first to be denominated in euros (EUR) instead of ECUs, in view of the fact that the single currency is planned to enter into force from 1 January 1999. The expenditure proposals total EUR 96,902 million in commitments and EUR 86,350 million in payments. Resources are concentrated in priority areas, particularly the employment initiative (EUR 150 million), trans-European networks (increased by 10%) and, in external policy to the PHARE (EUR 1,450 million) and MEDA (EUR 976 million) programmes. Special attention is also paid to the follow-up of the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change with an increase of appropriations for renewable energies by 40% under the ALTENER programme. As regards research and technological development, 1999 will be the first year of the planned Fifth RTD Framework Programme. During the first year commitments are foreseen at EUR 3,750 million, with a total of EUR 16,000 million during 1999-2002. This preliminary draft budget will now be transmitted to the Council and will be discussed by Member States' Finance Ministers in the ECOFIN Council on 19 May 1998. The first reading in the Council will take place in July. The Parliament's first reading will then take place in October and following the second reading of the Council, the Parliament should adopt the 1999 budget in December 1998.