The EU Budgetary Chess Game, the Polish Presidency and the Shadows of the Debt Crisis

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Series Details No. 26, March 2012
Publication Date March 2012
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The times are hardly auspicious for making tough decisions about the future of the European Union’s finances. European integration is under stress in the light of the potentially debilitating debt crisis which threatens the long-term viability of the eurozone. In addition, the negotiations over the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)—an arduous, seemingly routine process, with scant possibilities for bold moves and widespread awareness about the limits of the eventual compromise, yet extremely prone to politicization—have become even more protracted as new actors, most notably the European Parliament, seek to gain additional prominence. Still, the process will be largely driven by the biggest net contributors to the EU budget, namely Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Transparency could thus be a decisive feature of the negotiating process, allowing less influential Member States to hedge against the proposals undermining the solidarity which underpins the EU budget. Still, as the authors conclude, the outlook is rather pessimistic for the EU, as the stalemate hampers a more effective application of the MFF to tackle economic challenges.

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