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EU Budget review 2008-2009


The Mult-annual Financial Framework 

The European Commission published its proposal on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (soomes refered to as financial persecitves) for 2014-2020.

The 2008-2010 Budget Review

The EU budget has been based of the concept of ´┐Żown resources´┐Ż, a concept that, unlike purely intergovernmental organizations, was intended to give the EU financial resources which were defined as by definition ´┐ŻEU income´┐Ż; this system has essentially broken down taking with it any kind of independence of the EU. Instead, a system of medium term financial planning and annual budgeting has developed which is dependent on agreement between Member States´┐Ż governments on the level of expenditure the EU is permitted to incur in relation to the gross national income (GNI) of the Member States. This has led to horse-trading between national interests which have been more focused on questions of net contributions, just returns, and net gains, rather than on the values enshrined in the EU Treaties and the policies the EU has developed at EU level.

 

The recognition of this mismatch between aspiration and political reality in the system as it is led to the agreement in 2005 to a review of the budget which was intended to overcome this mismatch in time for the coming multi-annual financial framework (MFF) due to commence in 2014. From the point of view of the Civil Society Contact Group the process and the result of the Budget Review have been disappointing. The process, after an enthusiastic and inclusive start in 2008, suffered delays and finally fizzled out with a leaked document in October 2009 which was immediately disclaimed by the European Commission. The efforts of civil society, academic institutions and others in contributing to the consultation did not lead to a coherent or systematic analysis and response of the views expressed, far less a communication that responds to them. The slowed down timescale designed to ensure essentially no time between publication of the Commission Communication (in October 2010) and the start of the discussions about the next MFF appears intentionally to remove the scope for meaningful discussion between the EU and other stakeholders about the shape and purpose of the budget rather than budget lines, size and length of the next framework.

The Civil Society Contact Group (CSCG) actively participated in the debate on the EU Budget review that started in 2008, advocating for an EU budget that serves the European public interest and provides a long-term answer to the economic, social and environmental challenges the EU and the world are facing.

 

The CSCG actively inputted in the debates around the Budget Review by:

  • Answering to the Consultation on the budget review in 2008
  • Organising a lunch debate for NGOs: "Financing the EU: Where does, could and should the money come from?" in May 2008
  • Meeting with Pascal Leardini, Head of Unit, Secretariat General of the European Commission in May 2010. The objective of the meeting was to get more information on how the EU Budget Review will be carried out and its impact on the upcoming MFF.
  • Publishing an open letter to European Commission President Barroso in June 2010 in anticipation of the Commission Communication on the budget review. In this letter, the CSCG called on Barroso and its college of Commissioners to maintain the momentum for ambitions budget reform that was initiated in the 2008 budget review consultation process, urging that it should not be a lost opportunity.
  • Meeting with Reimer B´┐Żge MEP (during the summer of 2010) who was the European Parliament´┐Żs rapporteur during the past negotiations on the financial perspectives 2007-2013. The meeting discussed the Parliament´┐Żs involvement in the future negotiations on the MFF given their new role with the Treaty of Lisbon.
  • Publishing a CSCG released a statement in January 2011 on the Commission's Communication on the Budget Review (published in October 2010), outlining a set of budget allocation principles that the Commission should include in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework.

Find the conference report (including the presentations) here.

 

The NGO lunch debate organised by the Civil Society Contact Group on the income for the EU budget on May 21 2008, saw more then 35 participants most of them representatives of public interest organisations. An introductory briefing looked at where the EU money currently comes from and what alternative sources are being discussed. Claire Roumet, secretary general of the European Liaison Committee for Social Housing CECODHAS then spoke about the unfairness for poor people of consumption based (VAT) instead of wealth based taxation. Pendo Maro explained that the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) calls for earmarked environmental taxation. The EEB also proposes to install an open method of coordination (best practice exchange and coordination) in the field of environmental taxation, to respect the great variety of member state systems while still having European coordination.

The report is now available here.