Wer zahlt die Zeche für die Erweiterung der EU?

Der Optimismus, der auf dem vor einem Monat in Helsinki abgehaltenen Gipfeltreffen der Europäischen Union zu spüren war, als die Staats- und Regierungschefs der EU eine Ausdehnung der Beitrittsverhandlungen auf alle zehn mittel- und osteuropäischen Beitrittskandidaten einschließlich Maltas und Zyperns beschlossen, ist rasch verflogen. Mittlerweile ist deutlich geworden, dass die Erweiterung ein überaus schwieriger Prozess werden dürfte: schwierig, was die Verhandlungen angeht, und vielleicht genau so schwer, was die Frage betrifft, wie man sie den europäischen Wählern vermitteln soll.

Die mißliche Situation läßt sich in dürren Worten umreißen: Wer zahlt die Zeche dieser Erweiterung? Eine Auf-stockung der Europäischen Union ist nicht kostenlos zu haben: es wird Verlierer geben und ebenso Gewinner. Das generelle Dilemma, mit dem alle an den Verhandlungen Beteiligten zu tun haben, die, die schon drin sind, so gut wie die, die noch draußen sind, besteht nun darin sicherzustellen, dass es in keinem Land zu viele Verlierer gibt. Andern-falls wird die Erweiterung vom Wähler einfach nicht akzeptiert werden.

Seinen deutlichsten Ausdruck findet das Dilemma in der Gemeinsamen Agrarpolitik der Europäischen Union. Diese Politik war lange Zeit eine Belastung sowohl für die europäischen Verbraucher, weil sie bewirkte, daß die Preise für Nahrungsmittel unverändert hoch waren, als auch für die europäischen Steuerzahler, weil die Subventionierung der bäuerlichen Einkommen die EU pro Jahr ungefähr 41 Milliarden Euro (etw 40 Milliarden Dollar) kostet, d.h. knapp die Hälfte des gesamten EU-Haushalts. Allerdings war dies auch der Kern der Vereinbarungen, durch die die Union zusammengehalten wurde.

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