This paper offers a series of provisional estimations of the potential gains to the European Union economy over time from pursuing the ten-point plan presented by Jean-Claude Juncker to the European Parliament before he was elected President of the European Commission in July 2014.
These guidelines also correspond to a significant degree to policy priorities established by the Members of the European Parliament during the seventh parliamentary term through a large number of reports and resolutions which received broad support in the plenary. President Juncker’s ten points are also broadly in line with several of the objectives set out in the ‘Strategic Agenda for the Union in Times of Change’, adopted in the European Council in June 2014 when it proposed Mr Juncker to the Parliament as its candidate for President of the Commission.
The potential economic benefits of new European-level action may be measured in terms of additional gross domestic product (GDP) generated or in savings in (current or potential) public expenditure or other expenditure, through a more efficient allocation of resources in the economy as a whole. An example of additional GDP generated would be the potential multiplier effect over time of widening and deepening the digital single market on a continental scale, or indeed of further completing the existing single market in goods and services. An example of greater efficiency in public expenditure would be the better coordination of national and European development or defence policies. An example of potential future costs avoided would be the benefit of effective action to forestall any future banking or sovereign debt crises (although these could be of a one-off, rather than recurring, character).
The analysis set out in this document suggests that there could be very significant economic gains of these kinds, amounting in time to a maximum a c h i e v a b l e potential gain of approximately €1.7 trillion per year, on the basis that Mr Juncker’s ten priorities were to be fully implemented in a form consistent with various policy requests made to date by the Parliament. As such, these priorities would appear to offer a strategy for achieving ‘growth without debt’, as the European Union emerges from the recent economic and financial crises. Of that figure, € 1.4 trillion could potentially be generated on a recurrent basis, whilst € 0.3 trillion would be the potential benefit, in terms of cost avoided, in a crisis year of effective prior action to avert a banking or sovereign debt crisis.
The work summarised in this study derives in large part from research undertaken recently by the European Added Value Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), with a view to identifying the ‘cost of non-Europe’ in various major policy fields. In March and July 2014, it published successive editions of a synoptic paper, called Mapping the Cost of Non-Europe, 2014-19, a third edition of which will be issued in December 2014.3 This ‘Mapping’ text brings together and summarises detailed pieces of research undertaken for individual European parliamentary committees since 2012, in the form of European Added Value Assessments (on specific legislative initiatives proposed by the Parliament) and/or Cost of Non-Europe Reports (on broad policy sectors). It also draws on relevant outside research by academics, think tankers and other experts on the likely effect of other policy initiatives which have been advocated by the Parliament in its various legislative and own-initiative reports in recent years. The ‘Mapping’ exercise represents work-in-progress and continues to be updated and deepened as more detailed studies, with increasingly robust data on the cost of non-Europe, become available.