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Communicating and perceiving the EU budget: Challenges and outcomes

03-05-2021

This analysis presents the EU budget as a subject of communication, while also outlining its importance for the perception of the EU's democratic legitimacy and the challenges involved in presenting it to the citizens. Currently, there are more Europeans supporting a bigger EU budget than ever before (48 %), and the distribution of opinions cannot be explained simply by identifying them as belonging to the group of the net beneficiaries or that of the net contributors. Citizens' perceptions and desires ...

This analysis presents the EU budget as a subject of communication, while also outlining its importance for the perception of the EU's democratic legitimacy and the challenges involved in presenting it to the citizens. Currently, there are more Europeans supporting a bigger EU budget than ever before (48 %), and the distribution of opinions cannot be explained simply by identifying them as belonging to the group of the net beneficiaries or that of the net contributors. Citizens' perceptions and desires regarding EU budget spending priorities are very different. Moreover, their perceptions are rather different from the actual EU spending priorities as well. The size and scope of the EU budget, budgetary cycles and timelines, revenue and expenditure structures, performance, different EU and national, institutional and political actors – these are all factors influencing the way citizens understand and relate to the EU budget. Some recent changes, such as the increased focus on results in budgetary reporting and the reform of the system of own resources, have the potential to contribute positively to the EU budget communication and to make it more comprehensible to citizens.

EU response to the coronavirus pandemic: Citizens' views and expectations

17-12-2020

Citizens' expectations regarding European Union (EU) policy involvement and spending in healthcare and economic growth were already increasing before the coronavirus pandemic. These rising expectations created a gap between their demands and their evaluation of current EU action. At the same time, trust in the EU is at its highest level for a decade, and higher than the average level of trust in national governments. Apart from the direct consequences for health, the pandemic caused a wide spectrum ...

Citizens' expectations regarding European Union (EU) policy involvement and spending in healthcare and economic growth were already increasing before the coronavirus pandemic. These rising expectations created a gap between their demands and their evaluation of current EU action. At the same time, trust in the EU is at its highest level for a decade, and higher than the average level of trust in national governments. Apart from the direct consequences for health, the pandemic caused a wide spectrum of financial difficulties for people in the EU. A fear of future loss of income and widespread uncertainty became the prevailing emotional status of Europeans, although the level of hope is also considerable. The EU response to the pandemic aligns with citizens' preferences for areas of priority action and spending, especially with the introduction of the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery package. However, neither the scope of EU competences, nor the flexibility of EU finances, allow for immediate and full closure of the gap between citizens' preferences and their evaluation of EU action. Citizens' evaluation of the measures implemented by the EU to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences are almost equally divided between the positive and negative. In the context of the pandemic, there is a significant change of preference among Europeans regarding the size of EU financial means. An absolute majority of Europeans would like the EU to have more competences (66 %) and greater financial means (54 %) to fight the pandemic. This leads to the hypothesis that a lack of sufficient EU competences is a factor contributing to a degree of popular dissatisfaction with the EU in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amending Budget No 10/2020: Increase in payment appropriations and other adjustments to expenditure and revenue

10-12-2020

The European Commission has proposed to amend the 2020 budget, increasing the level of payment appropriations related to the 'global transfer' exercise, adjusting the revenue side, and budgeting expenditure adjustments related to the European Agriculture Guarantee Fund and some decentralised agencies. The overall proposed impact of Draft Amending Budget No 10/2020 (DAB 10/2020) is an increase in payment appropriations of €1 569.3 million. The European Parliament is set to vote on the Council's position ...

The European Commission has proposed to amend the 2020 budget, increasing the level of payment appropriations related to the 'global transfer' exercise, adjusting the revenue side, and budgeting expenditure adjustments related to the European Agriculture Guarantee Fund and some decentralised agencies. The overall proposed impact of Draft Amending Budget No 10/2020 (DAB 10/2020) is an increase in payment appropriations of €1 569.3 million. The European Parliament is set to vote on the Council's position on DAB 10/2020 during the December plenary session.

Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund – Shipbuilding ancillary sectors in Spain

14-10-2020

The European Commission has proposed to mobilise €2 054 400 under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to address redundancies in the ancillary sectors linked to shipbuilding in Galicia (Spain), resulting from the financial difficulties of two shipyards in the region. The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets backs the proposal and reiterates that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies, by virtue of national law or collective agreements ...

The European Commission has proposed to mobilise €2 054 400 under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to address redundancies in the ancillary sectors linked to shipbuilding in Galicia (Spain), resulting from the financial difficulties of two shipyards in the region. The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets backs the proposal and reiterates that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies, by virtue of national law or collective agreements. Parliament is expected to vote on this proposal during the October II plenary session.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Foreign policy

28-06-2019

European Union (EU) action beyond its borders often requires a combination of approaches. The EU Treaties differentiate between common foreign and security policy (CFSP), common security and defence policy (CSDP), external action, and the external dimension of internal policies, but in the field, issues are so intertwined that more often than not a single tool is not sufficient. For example, population displacement triggered by a conflict over natural resources has to be addressed by humanitarian ...

European Union (EU) action beyond its borders often requires a combination of approaches. The EU Treaties differentiate between common foreign and security policy (CFSP), common security and defence policy (CSDP), external action, and the external dimension of internal policies, but in the field, issues are so intertwined that more often than not a single tool is not sufficient. For example, population displacement triggered by a conflict over natural resources has to be addressed by humanitarian aid, itself secured by a CSDP mission, and its effects mitigated by adequate migration and development policies, while peace talks are conducted. Coordination between all stakeholders is challenging but vital, not only as a response but also for prevention. To address new challenges such as climate change, rising insecurity or new migration patterns, the EU has put forward concrete solutions to shape synergy between the actors, in order to use shared expertise more effectively, and to find new sources of funding. The new foreign policy framework (EU global strategy) is intended to map the tools and resources best designed to help society as a whole, in the EU and partner countries, to withstand natural and manmade shocks more effectively. This means making connections between actors and between traditionally separate policy areas. Budgetary constraints and the will to depart from a donor/recipient relationship have also resulted in innovative financing tools, using EU funds to leverage private investments. While, since its launch, the global strategy has proved to be a coherent vision, sturdy, comprehensive external action nevertheless requires coordination at all levels. In the years to come, global instability is expected to rise; the challenge for the EU will be to ensure security while upholding the core values of the Treaties – human rights, democracy and the fight against poverty – as its primary objectives on the global stage. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Economic policy

28-06-2019

In the European Union (EU), although economic policy falls within the remit of each Member State, there is, nevertheless, multilateral coordination of economic policies between individual countries. The global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis put this framework severely to the test. Partly as a result, recovery in the EU was slower than recovery in the United States, and was not achieved equally by all Member States. Furthermore, it has to a large extent been based on accommodative ...

In the European Union (EU), although economic policy falls within the remit of each Member State, there is, nevertheless, multilateral coordination of economic policies between individual countries. The global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis put this framework severely to the test. Partly as a result, recovery in the EU was slower than recovery in the United States, and was not achieved equally by all Member States. Furthermore, it has to a large extent been based on accommodative fiscal and monetary policies that only partly hide underlying signs of fiscal or financial fragility in some countries. To remedy this, the European institutions began a twofold process in 2011: initiatives were taken to strengthen the current framework for economic governance and banking supervision in the euro area while, in parallel, discussions began on possible ways to reduce the economic divergences between Member States, provide incentives for risk reduction and risk-sharing, render the governance process more transparent and ensure democratic accountability. In this latter area, several initiatives – that did not require changes to the EU Treaties – were taken between 2015 and 2017. In summer 2017, discussions on deepening the policy framework for economic and monetary union (EMU) intensified. This process, which was advocated in the Five Presidents' Report (the presidents of the main EU institutions) and should be completed by 2025, is now being considered at Member State level. The current state of play points towards two main policy preferences, dividing Member States into two groups: those that prioritise risk-sharing measures (such as France), and those that argue instead for further risk-reduction initiatives (for example, Germany). This lack of consensus has so far meant that the European Council has not been able to reach a breakthrough. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

2019 European elections: National rules

11-04-2019

This infographic contains up-to-date information on key data concerning the forthcoming European elections (to be held in May 2019). In a one-page format, readers will find information on the election day in each country, the voting systems adopted at Member State level, as well as on rules governing eligibility and allocation of seats. The infographic also explains the re-distribution of seats which would take place following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, now expected to take place ...

This infographic contains up-to-date information on key data concerning the forthcoming European elections (to be held in May 2019). In a one-page format, readers will find information on the election day in each country, the voting systems adopted at Member State level, as well as on rules governing eligibility and allocation of seats. The infographic also explains the re-distribution of seats which would take place following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, now expected to take place only after the European elections, and the consequent overall reduction in the total number of seats to 705. Further information and clarification is provided on the second page of the infographic.

Guarantee Fund for External Actions

13-12-2018

The Guarantee Fund for External Actions (GFEA) backs loans and loan guarantees granted to non-EU countries, or to finance projects in non-EU countries. Its objectives are to help protect the EU budget against the risks associated with such loans. The main objective of the actions backed by the GFEA is to support the increase of growth and jobs, and to improve the business environment in developing countries by strengthening the involvement of the private sector. The GFEA also contributes to the European ...

The Guarantee Fund for External Actions (GFEA) backs loans and loan guarantees granted to non-EU countries, or to finance projects in non-EU countries. Its objectives are to help protect the EU budget against the risks associated with such loans. The main objective of the actions backed by the GFEA is to support the increase of growth and jobs, and to improve the business environment in developing countries by strengthening the involvement of the private sector. The GFEA also contributes to the European External Investment Plan, which addresses the root causes of migration, the ongoing refugee crisis and security-related issues.

Public opinion and the EU budget - Who supports the EU budget?

05-10-2018

The budget of the European Union (EU budget) provides the EU with the means to finance its policies and to respond to challenges which occur. Due to its scope, the perception of the EU budget is linked to citizens’ perception of the EU as a whole, its legitimacy and reputation, as well as the performance of the EU institutions. This briefing analyses public opinion surveys related to the EU budget, in particular citizens' preferences for greater EU financial means and their evaluation of the EU budget ...

The budget of the European Union (EU budget) provides the EU with the means to finance its policies and to respond to challenges which occur. Due to its scope, the perception of the EU budget is linked to citizens’ perception of the EU as a whole, its legitimacy and reputation, as well as the performance of the EU institutions. This briefing analyses public opinion surveys related to the EU budget, in particular citizens' preferences for greater EU financial means and their evaluation of the EU budget as 'good' or 'poor' value for money. It sets the analysis of public opinion in the context of debate on reforming the EU budget and on setting the next multiannual financial framework. According to recent Eurobarometer data, 37 % of Europeans support the EU having greater financial means given its political objectives, and 31 % think that the EU budget gives good value for money for EU citizens. Although the demand for greater support and the positive opinion of the EU budget both have positive trends over time, there is still much to be addressed. A closer look at the data demonstrates significant differences between the opinions across the Member States. Although a more sceptical trend can be observed amongst net contributor Member States, the diversity in the data cannot be explained only by the positioning of a country on the net contributor-net beneficiary continuum. The opinions of citizens across Member States vary in their values as well as in their direction of change over time. In addition, the opinions on the EU budget can be linked to personal factors - younger Europeans tend to express stronger support for greater EU financial means than older ones.

The 2018 State of the Union debate in the European Parliament

07-09-2018

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union address to the European Parliament, and the subsequent debate, on 12 September 2018 is to be the last one during the current mandate. It comes in the context of the ongoing reflection on the future path of the European Union, especially in view of the European elections next May. The debate will therefore be an occasion to reflect on the legacy and achievements of this Commission, to present the priorities until the end of the ...

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union address to the European Parliament, and the subsequent debate, on 12 September 2018 is to be the last one during the current mandate. It comes in the context of the ongoing reflection on the future path of the European Union, especially in view of the European elections next May. The debate will therefore be an occasion to reflect on the legacy and achievements of this Commission, to present the priorities until the end of the mandate and to follow up on the ongoing debate on the future path of the European Union of 27. President Juncker’s speech is expected to be accompanied by a set of concrete initiatives and proposals with the aim to deliver positive results for citizens by the time of the Sibiu summit in May 2019. This year’s speech comes as the campaigns for the European elections start to take shape, but also in the period of intensive debate on the Commission’s proposals for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which set out the Commission’s vision of the EU financing of policies during that period. The State of the Union debate now forms part of the process for the adoption of the annual Commission Work Programme and thus plays an important role in identifying major political priorities to be agreed in interinstitutional dialogue. This briefing is an update of an earlier one, of September 2017, by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.

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