“The European Union is a budgetary dwarf”

La President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola (European People’s Party, EPP), published on 11 September in The world a platform in which she was calling “to modernize” the budget of the European Union (EU), just before the speech by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the state of the european union of September 14. She is doubly right, on the observation and on the moment. But on the solutions, what it offers is not up to par. Because it is not simply by betting on more than “flexibility” of the budget that the EU will be able to meet the challenges of the times to come.

The problem with the European budget is that its volume is insufficient, that its orientations and its execution are not ambitious enough in ecological and social matters, and that the EU is not in control of the revenue which feeds this budget.

Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Budgets since my election to the European Parliament in 2019, I was struck by the mismatch between the European budget and the economic weight of the EU. The European Union is a budgetary dwarf. The EU budget barely represents 1% of the wealth produced in the Union. By way of comparison, admittedly imperfect, the federal budget of the United States represents 25% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States.

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The other handicap of our budget is therefore that the EU is not in control of its revenue. Only 25% of the European budget is financed by European tax revenues, called “own resources”the remaining 75% comes from grants from the States.

The EU budget represents 1% of the wealth produced in the EU, while the US federal budget represents 25% of US gross domestic product (GDP)

If you add to this that 40% of our current budget is intended to finance an industrial and chemical conception of agriculture, which not only penalizes farmers, but profoundly degrades the environment, we can see to what extent the European budget is today unable to meet the needs required by the ecological transformation of our economic and social model.

Moreover, the European Court of Auditors recently revealed that the green expenditure planned for the previous multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 had in fact been cut by more than 72 billion euros mainly because of agricultural spending that turned out to be falsely ecological.

Each and everyone measures it, we are in a decisive moment. The present situation is not only a response to short-term and temporary problems, but to a systemic crisis of the current so-called “development” model. The original promise of “peace and prosperity” which guided European construction, already threatened by a liberal and technocratic drift, is now also threatened by the ecological crisis and its social, economic, health, geopolitical and democratic consequences.

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