The EU Budget

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Debates about a future direction for the CAP have accelerated far beyond the scope of the Health Check proposals, precipitated in part by the review of the EU Budget. Finance Ministries and civil society stakeholders had one of their first public opportunities to debate the fundamental principles and rationale for future EU expenditure in responding to a 2008 consultation initiated by the European Commission. The accompanying paper “Reforming the budget, changing Europe” considered the future policy challenges facing Europe, and whether these are adequately reflected in spending priorities. A number of fundamental questions were raised about the added value of European spending, and the effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency of budget delivery.

The Budget Review, which spans a period of several years, opens the door for considerable scrutiny of the rationale for all EU expenditure - not least the amount allocated to the CAP and the value for money it provides. Considered critique is needed before the structure and direction of future EU spending for the EU’s multi-annual financial framework for the post 2013 period is set.

A number of questions need to be adequately addressed before a decision can be taken on the budget, and before the vested interests of Member States come to the fore. Please let us know your views on the issues that are central to the debate on the EU Budget, and in particular, what the implications might be for the future direction of European agricultural policy. You may wish to consider the following:

  • What are the overriding issues of transnational, European interest that warrant a common agricultural policy financed by a common budget?
  • What kind of measures add the most value? What are the key differences between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2?
  • Which measures are most effective and efficient at delivering their intended outcomes?
  • Is the public interest advanced by a more liberal market-based approach with limited leverage on agricultural activities? What would this mean for the delivery of social and environmental public goods?
  • A key delineator of a Member State’s position on CAP expenditure has been whether it is a net contributor to, or a net beneficiary of, the EU budget as a whole, and how much of the overall budgetary flow is returned to it in the form of CAP payments. To what extent is this likely to shape the course of the Budget Review?
  • Is a net cut in the overall CAP budget a fait accompli?
  • If downward pressure is placed on the CAP budget, and new countries continue to accede to the EU, what are the implications for cohesion objectives? And, what are the implications for the vision set by the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS)?
  • Should all agricultural expenditure be co-financed by the Member States? Should different rates of co-financing apply to different types of measure or interventions? Is this a threat to a common policy, raising renationalisation arguments?

Please do not feel bound by these questions. If there are other key questions that you would like to address, then please feel free to do so.

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PUBLICATION DATE

07 Nov 2008

AUTHOR

IEEP