The EU budget and crisis responseDespite no shortage of rhetoric about investing to help Europe emerge from economic crisis, EU heads of state and government are not willing to back this up. In order to emerge from the economic crisis, we should be investing more in research, education, green technologies and the sustainable transformation of our energy sector. The EU budget, which promotes pan-European policies, represents the most logical and value-for-money way to deliver this crisis response at European level. The European Parliament is pushing for a different approach to EU governments. Given the difficult situation of public finances across Europe, the European Parliament is not demanding additional means but it is simply looking to ensure the EU budget can deliver the policies agreed on by EU member states and the other EU institutions over the past 4 years[iii].
No more doublespeakThere has been too much empty rhetoric from EU leaders advocating a “stronger European Union”. They need to finally get their act together and provide the EU with the means to realise this. The overwhelming portion of the EU budget (94%) is spent in EU member states, so cutting the EU budget will be a loss to European citizens, especially young citizens. The Erasmus university exchange programme, which is an overwhelmingly successful programme and a flagship for a truly European youth is already running out of money and its existence is being threatened by the negotiating positions of EU governments. The EU's cohesion policy, which aims to support Europe’s poorer regions and peoples[iv], risks being underfinanced This will exacerbate the already dramatic and historical levels of unemployment in Europe, which are around 25% in Greece and Spain. The cuts also threaten investments needed for the creation of sustainable jobs in both rural and urban areas, for essential energy and transport infrastructures and for a credible response to climate change. EU governments need to end the doublespeak (especially net contributors to the EU budget like Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark).
What type of Europe?The EU budget brings benefits across a wide range of areas, with European-level programmes bringing added value. Many European regions would hardly be able to organise training and reintegration projects for unemployed people without the European Social Fund. Without EU research programmes, cooperation and common research activities between European universities would hardly exist, seriously reducing strongly the quality of European research. Without the LIFE+ environment programme, many outstanding environmental projects throughout Europe would cease to exist. The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament wants to defend citizen's interests and promote a better Europe and a reformed European budget, preparing Europe for a future of limited resources and an increased need for solidarity. __________________________________________________________
[iv] The Cohesion policy which is the key element of the solidarity within the Union benefits to the poorest regions by investing in the economy and by creating jobs and to the richest regions by investing in the economy and by spill over effects in the poorest regions.