The EU’s financial landscape – A patchwork construction requiring further simplification and accountability

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 5/2023
Publication Date March 2023
ISBN 978-92-847-9420-1
ISSN 1977-5679
EC QJ-AB-23-004-EN-N
Content Type


The EU’s financial landscape has evolved over decades. Its centrepiece is the EU budget, which includes a number of instruments. This landscape also covers instruments outside the budget, which have multiplied in recent years. Our audit provides an insight into the design of the current arrangements and identifies the potential scope for simplifying and streamlining the financial landscape. We conclude that, even if there were reasons for creating instruments outside the budget, the piecemeal approach to the setup of the EU’s financial landscape has resulted in a patchwork construction that is not fully publicly accountable. Our recommendations aim at ensuring adequate prior assessments of newly proposed instruments, further consolidating the EU’s financial landscape and improving its accountability.

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