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Revision of the financial perspectives

For a Financial Independence of the European Union

Inquiry of EurActiv France on the next French EU Presidency

, by Translated by Peter Matjašič, Les Jeunes Européens France

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] [italiano]

The ceiling on the budget of the European Union at 1.24 % of the GDP of Member States does not allow the implementation of policies that meet the expectations of citizens: the creation of a European foreign and defence policy, investments in research...

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This is explained by the total dependence of the European Union with respect to Member States, the principal contributors to the EU budget. The latter indeed decide on the maximum real amount of their contribution. We manage to see the richest countries (France at the head) who congratulated the Commission on presenting a budget at 1.04% of the GDP. Beautiful European solidarity!

Furthermore, the financing of the budget lacks legibility for the citizen. For example, our fellow-citizens underestimate the share of VAT put back to the European Union on a purchased product.

In addition, the European Parliamen can give only one advisory opinion on the majority of the expenditure, namely the obligatory expenditure. This institution being the only one at the European level which is directly elected by the citizens, we can worry worry about the consideration of the European Parliament as a simple chamber of validation and consequently the lack of democracy in the elaboration of the EU budget.

With these democratic problems the competition between Member States is added, aiming either at paying the least possible or to collect the most money, it is the theory of the “just reward” preached by Margaret Thatcher. This situation is very far from what should be the participation of Member States in the European project. It is time to strengthen the solidarity between the European citizens by making them participate more actively in the budget of the European Union. This participation in the budget must be such that the citizens, whatever their countries of origin, at equal financial standing, are put on a plan of equality.

In order for the EU to become really effective, it is necessary that its budget is independent of that of the Member States in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. With this intention, it must obtain its own, stable and transparent resources which allow a greater visibility on the financial questions and a more important flexibility in the budgetary choices.

Possible solutions

- The implementation of direct taxation by the European Union (impôt et/ou cotisations sociales), (tax and/or social security contributions), either by creating them of any details, or by adapting existing taxation, to finance the European budget directly. This taxation would come into effect preferably in all the 27 EU countries or less Member States if the majority of them decided on it.
- A revision of the budget of the European Union. Indeed, it is not conceivable with respect to the citizens to introduce a new form of financing of the European Union without reorganizing the distribution of the current budget.

Great inquiry of EurActiv France on the French EU Presidency

Companies, federations, trade unions, NGOs, associations, think tanks and local communities… 35 organizations, to date, answered the inquiry of EurActiv France regardin the expectations of the civil society for the French Presidency of the EU in the second semester of 2008.

To see this file in French: click here

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Image: Series of €uro bills, taken from the website of theCommission.

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