Strategies to overcome the "juste retour" perspective on the EU budget

19-02-2020

A net budgetary balance is a highly misleading indicator of the benefits from EU spending and EU membership. Budgetary decisions taken on the basis of this indicator result in poor policies as they are biased towards programmes with monetary backflows into Member States. This ‘juste retour’ mentality is a major obstacle to achieving more European added value through the EU budget. The deeper underlying cause of this misleading and detrimental net balance preoccupation is the high salience and political appeal of backflow policies, with their easily identifiable national and regional beneficiaries. Policies whose European benefits are more dispersed and do not entail payments into Member States do receive less voter and policy support. This briefing sketches and discusses the options that might correct this detrimental bias.

A net budgetary balance is a highly misleading indicator of the benefits from EU spending and EU membership. Budgetary decisions taken on the basis of this indicator result in poor policies as they are biased towards programmes with monetary backflows into Member States. This ‘juste retour’ mentality is a major obstacle to achieving more European added value through the EU budget. The deeper underlying cause of this misleading and detrimental net balance preoccupation is the high salience and political appeal of backflow policies, with their easily identifiable national and regional beneficiaries. Policies whose European benefits are more dispersed and do not entail payments into Member States do receive less voter and policy support. This briefing sketches and discusses the options that might correct this detrimental bias.

Autor extern

Giacomo Benedetto, Friedrich Heinemann, Fabian Zuleeg