Fabian Demicoli

The EU Budget Review

 Towards a strong and more efficient use of tax-payers money

A new system of own resources, an abolition of the "juste retour" principle and a report on the cost of a non-Europe are some of the recommendations contained in the European Economic and Social Committee's (EESC) position on the EU Budget Review. Widely supported by Members, the position was endorsed at the June EESC Plenary Session.

 

"We are managing tax-payers money and should therefore be accountable to our citizens. These days, after the economic crisis has strongly hit our economies, we have to make the best use of national and EU budgets. By transferring expenses to the EU level and achieving the consequent economies of scale, we will ensure that the EU maximises the effectiveness of the public money it receives" said Henri Malosse, Rapporteur of the EESC opinion on the EU Budget Review.

The EESC is clearly committed to a fair and results-oriented EU Budget, founded on the principle of own resources. Taxpayers' money should be spent on clear priorities and visible projects that contain an added value at EU level and respond to EU citizens' needs and expectations, states the EESC opinion. It is of utmost importance to reduce the administrative burden that frequently reduces EU budget's effectiveness and raises costs.

Furthermore, along with the Commission the EESC proposes a newly created system partly based on transferred national taxes. It also underlines that the only way to make a success of an ambitious budget is to win the battle of public opinion. The EESC, in partnership with the European Parliament, will carry out studies on the cost of non-Europe, highlighting duplication in national budgets.

As the EESC also suggests, the "juste retour" principle must be abandoned as it is contrary to the values of solidarity and mutual benefit which underpin European integration. Rather, the subsidiarity principle needs to be applied.

The European budget must be strengthened and have a leverage effect, according to the EESC opinion. Because of EU level cooperation national and European budgets should complement each other, avoiding overlaps and attaining better results. The EESC recommends more systematic recourse to EIB loans, public-private partnerships and the creation of Eurobonds for investment.

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