A green EU budget – or no EU budget

On the eve of Angela Merkel’s address to the European Parliament, Markus Trilling sketches out how the German chancellor might like to propose a way out of the deepening EU budget impasse.

Ahead of a crucial meeting of national leaders on 22-23 November, member states of the European Union are hardening their positions on the future EU budget, the multi-annual financial framework for 2014-20 (MFF). Last week, the British parliament, albeit in a non-binding vote, made it crystal clear to the British prime minister, David Cameron, that anything less than a real-terms cut in the MFF will not be tolerated domestically.

Sweden and the Netherlands have also been banging the drum for substantial, €100+ billion reductions in the budget. France is aggrieved at the marginal proposed cuts to the Common Agricultural Policy announced last week by the Cypriot presidency of the Council of Ministers. Meanwhile, the new member states in the east are surely seething at the hacks aimed at Cohesion Policy spending (€12.5bn, or a 3.7% reduction), again part of the revised, Cyprus-sponsored MFF ‘negotiating box’.

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