The outcome of the EU budget negotiations follows the pattern of the last couple of years’ EU politics; no consensus, lack of solidarity and prosperity. David Cameron claims that the current plan for EU budget is unaffordable, and in no way will the UK accept them. Consequently Belgian and French leaders are attacking Cameron, saying he has no sense of Europeanism and does not recognize the advantages that the UK could reap from this budget.
The EU budget for 2014 -2020 is £ 1trillion which is a relatively small proportion of most countries expanses for this seven -year-term; it approximately equals 5.5 per cent of EU GDP. The money goes to many different areas aiming to support European development, primarily for agricultural and fishing developments. It also supposed to aid the less developed countries in Europe, who recently joined the EU or are aiming to join it, to help them become more economically developed. Although, theoretically the EU budget is a step towards a more balanced and equally developed Union, in practice it includes many flaws that desperately need correction. Large proportion of the budget goes in to project that are either seemingly unnecessary, or impossible to monitor. Landowners, who obtain EU support, cannot be authorised and their spending of this support unknown for everyone. Ideally this money shall be used to fix EU economic errors, but in many cases it really only generates a political debate.
Cameron is recognized as the loudest opposing voice in the crowd of EU officials, not by accident I might add. He urges cuts on the EU budget, explaining that he is not willing to cut UK’s domestic budget and increase taxes to enable the country to pay in to the EU budget. This all sounds fairly reasonable one would say, the needs of UK come first. However, here again should be pointed out that the current plan for EU budget could hardly wreck the British economy. A more likely explanation for Cameron’s combative attitude could be that he politicizes domestic matters on EU playing field. His desperation for more domestic support appears in his every step of foreign politics, especially EU politics. Though he is aware of that secession from the EU is not a real possibility for the UK, he has been tough on all EU matters lately in order to feed the popular hatred; the idea that provides the short-minded explanation for the problems of British economy with the back holding force of the EU.
The problem, which does not seem to be a major threat for Cameron and his supporters in cutting the EU budget, is that the EU would largely lose its sense of significance by not being able to create a economic common field through financial interaction. Consequently the relatively backward countries of the EU would not have the chance in the foreseeable future to improve to the level of more developed counties. Also, agricultural growth would stagnate which is the leader industry of European economy. Deepening in rather minor domestic political issues in this context is simply ignorance. Investment in development is capable of generating growth and improvement, not fearful and position saving small-minded domestic political debate. Cameron’s badly justified lobby against the EU is a sweaty struggle for saving his precious position, rather than a thoughtful argument to secure British economy.
Although the summit ended without an agreement, it at least cleared the picture. The division between northern and southern countries, creditors and debtors is obvious now. However, it shows a new surprising conflict between the rich countries, a German-French debate. On one side, Germany alongside with the UK encourages cuts of the budget. On the other side, France with Italian and Spanish support promotes a large EU budget. Either way the decision must be made by the end of 2013, or the old EU budget is going to roll on month-by-month until a consensus has been reached.
By Krisztina Főző