On 1 May 2004 Europe celebrates the entrance of ten new members in the European Union but behind the fireworks and the celebrations, Brussels has to adapt itself to this new generation of the European project. One of the most important points is the budgetary issue. History has shown that the budget is a source of tension between the members and everybody keeps in mind the 1965 crisis when De Gaulle withdrew France from its participation in the work of the Council of the Ministers in protest at a proposal from the commission concerning the financing of the Community's budget (George & Bache, 2000). The budget of the European Union finances the operations of the EU institution and the EU policies. It is defined by an agreement between all the member states. The expenditures are voted on by the parliament and the Council according to the draft budget submitted by the Commission.
[...] The European authorities only looked at the potential growth of these countries but did not realize their huge needs (maybe because of the pre-adhesion funds). The European Union understood it only when they saw the offensive behaviour of the new member states. This attitude of the newcomers has changed the mentality of the Fifteen. The budgetary negotiations have always been rude but we have seen for the financial framework 2007-2013 that everyone tried to keep its advantages and that the common interest was easily forgotten. [...]
[...] The new balance One of the most important budgetary implications of the May 2004 enlargement is the fact that all the newcomers need the European subsidies as it is seen on this table. Before the enlargement only four countries were net beneficiaries and benefited a lot from the European Union. The net beneficiary countries are now more numerous than the net contributors. Even if the political weight of the beneficiaries is still low, the EU could be inclined to be in crisis because of the different interests. [...]
[...] They have been established on 26 March 1999 at the Berlin European Council but have been corrected and adapted to take the budgetary impact of the enlargement into account. European Navigator These financial perspectives show the strategic orientations and the main political choices: - The stabilization of the budget; - The non-increase of its own resources - The budgetary discipline and efficient expenditures in order to finance the enlargement (Commission report, 2000) Agenda 2000 was highly criticized especially by Germany. [...]
[...] For countries like Spain or Ireland, the enlargement is synonymous of loss. Indeed the Commission considers that their economic progress justify a decrease of their subsidies. Countries like Germany or Netherlands are less affected by the Commission proposals. Another reason for the failure of the negotiations on the budget is the litigation on the British rebate, even if the United Kingdom had the presidency. On 23 March 2005 the French president Jacques Chirac declared in front of the press will be able to have a suitable balance only if we call into question the British cheque which is not justified any more.” The EU expected a significant reduction of the British rebate in the European budget. [...]
[...] As regards the Stability and Growth Pact, some countries consider that the constraints are to strong. Indeed, six of the most important contributors were in favour of a limitation of the European budget: of the GNI instead of Their argument is their net contribution in the budget however it is quite wrong because these countries disregard the positive economic repercussion from the common market. They advocate solidarity more “national” between the regions in the rich countries and the concentration of the structural interventions in the poorest one that is to say the new member states. [...]
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