Putting Europe into the EU Budget
Most independent observers agree that the European Union’s budget no longer reflects its main tasks and policy goals. Aid to agriculture, a declining sector, consumes over 40% of spending and little is spent on the future (R&D) or on fields in which the EU must assume new responsibilities, such as internal and external security.
Moreover, contributions from national budgets constitute the vast majority of revenues. Member state governments consider these revenues “their money” and compare them to “their receipts.” Thus, EU budget negotiations are framed exclusively in terms of what national treasuries have to pay and what farmers and regions at home receive. European citizens have no clear perception of the Union’s total cost and are only interested in preserving transfers in their favor indefinitely.
The increasing detachment of the budget from the Union’s objectives is sustained by decision-making procedures that authorize the European Council, representing member governments, to take all the important decisions according to a rule of unanimity, with the European Parliament and the European Commission confined to a minor role.