The delicate exercise of the European BudgetPosted: April 28, 2011
The adoption last year of a European budget was not an easy task, the member states, following the lead trio M-C-S (Merkel-Cameron-Sarkozy), refused any significan increase. Since austerity was on the menu un member states, the union too would have to tight its belt. Who cares if the EU budget is just a fraction of the member states’, it does not matter than a euro spent at the european level is worth more than a euro spent at the national level (according to Mr Barroso) [*]; and no matter that 94% of this money gets back quasi-directly to the citizens [*]. The budget was finally accepted, unwillingly by the Parliament, with just a 2.9% increase [*].
If you’re a fan of budget negotiations, don’t worry, it’s starting again. The Commission just presented its budget draft for 2012, with a 4.9% increase in spending and +3.7% in engagement – and a freeze of administrative spending. A budget turned towards citizens, aimed at stimulating growth and taking into account the ambient austerity, according to the Commission [*].
The council will give its opinion (that we imagine to be fairly negative) on this draft in June, then the Parliament after the summer recess. Like last year, we can expect an opposition between the two institutions.
We can note that, at the beginning of April, the American Congress almost shutdown the US government, due to a failure to find an deal on the budget, agreement has been reached just hours before the dealdline. Will the EU manage to put all the european institutions to an halt ? The 2012 budget will certainly be the best opportunity to try.
In the following months, I’ll try to follow up on the budget topic by exploring changes between 2011 and 2012 and the positions of the institutions.