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The EU Budget’s Outsize Political Role

BRUSSELS – The European Commission is now in the process of formulating the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), a medium-term budget framework that fixes the European Union’s revenues and expenditures, including how much should be allocated annually to each objective and each country. The next one starts in 2014 – and much more than money is at stake.

The debate over the next year will be significantly influenced and constrained by national interests. Member states, facing serious fiscal problems of their own, are unlikely to agree to pay more to the EU budget, which will thus probably remain at 1% of EU-wide GDP, as in the previous MFF. But this is no excuse to give up on overhauling the budget’s role in EU governance.