Agenda 2014: a zero-base approach

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Series Details SIEPS European Policy Analysis No.6, 2007
Publication Date October 2007
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Review 2008/2009. While inviting contributions on a wide range of questions in need of “a profound
deliberation”, the Commission also took pains to underline that the mid-term review should not aim to propose a new multi-annual financial framework or fix the overall size and detailed breakdown of the EU budget. This task, it declared, should be left to the next Commission.

The Member States have good reason to take a bolder position. The mid-term review is an important
occasion for taking stock of EU commitments and impact in various fields and setting guidelines for the next overhaul of the budget. Although major changes in the design of the current Financial Perspectives may prove difficult to achieve, principles could be established for the forthcoming revision of the EU budget and some early decisions could be taken about programmes to be
phased out. Adding the attribute final to some allocations already made may help clear the board for the next period.

Every annual budgeting process is marked by incrementalism and inertia. With a seven-year time frame, there should be more room for synoptic rationalism. This paper suggests a zero-base approach to the next Financial Perspectives, requiring claims for EU spending to be justified from
the bottom up.

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