The EU budget is an important tool that puts EU policies into practice. It finances actions that Member States cannot fund on their own or which they can fund more economically by pooling their resources. The EU budget is adopted through a democratic procedure: it is prepared by the European Commission (the EU’s executive body) and is then discussed and agreed by the Council of the EU (representing EU Member States, including Croatia) and by the European Parliament (where the democratically Croatian elected representatives sit). Once adopted, the budget is then managed either jointly by the EU... Member States and the Commission, or directly by the Commission. In practice, 80 % of the EU budget is managed by national or regional governments. Through grants, loans and other forms of financing, the EU budget provides financial support to hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries such as students, scientists, NGOs, SMEs, towns and regions.