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The great future of EU finances

A few tips to efficiently reform the EU budget

The great future of EU finances

Claudia Astarita

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"The EU budget faces a tough challenge to fund more with less. The EU is expected to play a bigger role in new policy areas like migration, internal and external security or defence. And Europe should also preserve its leading role on the global stage, as a major humanitarian and development aid donor and as a leader of the fight against climate change".

According to a recently published "Reflection paper on the Future of EU Finances", the EU is well positioned to face all the challenges it is currently facing. Whiththis paper, the EU is trying to involve all its members to discuss possibilities and reform options, while mapping out opportunities, risks and trade-offs for each.

The EU has identified five scenarios for the post-2020 budget. They are:

1) Carrying on: the EU-27 continue to deliver their positive reform agenda.

2) Doing less together: the EU-27 do less together in all policy areas.

3) Some do more: the EU-27 allow groups of Member States to do more in specific areas.

4) Radical redesign: the EU-27 do more in some areas, while doing less elsewhere.

5) Doing much more together: the EU-27 decide to do more together across all policy areas.

No matter which scenarionsEU members will embrace, it will remain a must for them to: ensure that EU money is spent in the most efficient way; abolish rebates on contributions of Member States; and drop reporting on net balances or improve the existing methodology to better reflect reality and align national treatment of contributions to the EU budget. Last but nnot least, all scenarios require factoring in flexibility to respond to major unexpected developments and unforeseen needs, and in order to respond to the unanimous call from Member States and beneficiaries of EU funding, simplification needs to become the other common driver for modernising the EU budget.

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