Analysis of the European Union budget review 2008-2009
The budget of the European Union is an important tool of the European Union and its institutions to implement its policies. It has often been criticised for various reasons. Popular complaints and criticisms include:
- The budget is not transparent;
- The budget is not democratically controlled;
- The budget is not properly managed and the management is not accountable;
- The budget is targeted at the wrong things – the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) stands out in this context;
- The contribution of Member States to the budget is uneven and unfair.
The budget of the European Union is an important part of the constitutional architecture and structure. This review is therefore an important element of a whole range of discussions on European constitutional debates including the discussions of the Convention on the future of Europe (2001–2003), the Constitutional Treaty, and the recently agreed Reform Treaty. QCEA has followed each of these debates in some detail and contributed to the earlier phase of them with the publication ‘Values Matter – Quakers Reflect on Europe’.
The present set of briefing papers is a further contribution by QCEA to this debate and intended to engage Quakers and those in sympathy with Quakers across Europe in the debate and thereby develop a coherent Quaker response to this consultation.
The Consultation – Background, Purpose, Remit, and Timetable
The budget of the European Union is an important tool of the European Union and its institutions to implement its policies. It has often been criticised for various reasons. As a result, and as a part of the negotiations regarding the Financial Perspectives 2007-2013, the decision makers decided in 2006 to undertake a ‘full, wide ranging review covering all aspects of EU spending, including the CAP, and of resources, including the UK rebate, to report in 2008/9’. In September 2007 the Commission launched a public consultation to prepare for the review, in which all interested parties are invited to contribute. QCEA has followed each of these debates in some detail and contributed to the earlier phase of them with the publication ‘Values Matter – Quakers Reflect on Europe’.
The European Union Budget Structure
The budget of the European Union is an important tool of the European Union and its institutions to implement its policies. This Briefing Paper details how the European Union is funded through own resource and Member State contributions and provides an overview of expenditure by policy area.
The European Union Budget – Key Issues for Consultation
In Briefing Paper 2 we set out how the EU budget is constructed. This showed some areas where there are problems with the current approach to budgeting both on the income and on the expenditure side. This briefing paper sets out some of these difficulties under thematic headings.
The European Union Budget – Questions Raised in the Consultation
This Briefing Paper looks at the Consultation Document issued by the European Commission in September 2007, particularly the questions raised in the document which are intended to frame the consultation.The consultation document itself is relatively short (some 13 pages) and sets out the background to the review, the context and the fact that the Common Agricultural Policy will be reviewed at the same time (in the words of the document, this will undergo a ‘health check’, a term which might imply something rather less in depth than a review).
The Health Check of the Common Agricultural Policy
At the same time as the review of the EU budget, the European Union is also subjecting the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to what is referred to as a ‘health check’. The reason for doing this in parallel is that the CAP forms a significant part of the EU budget and without looking at this policy there is significantly less scope for reforms in the overall budget.
This briefing paper is intended to help those who wish to contribute to the consultation on the budget review to understand some of the basics of the CAP and how it impacts on the budget of the European Union. This paper in no way claims to be a comprehensive assessment of the CAP: many volumes have been written on the subject and a briefing paper could never do the subject justice. However, it is an attempt to tease out some of the key issues and questions and provide some pointers for further information.