Written by Alessandro D’Alfonso
The EU budget corresponds to around 1% of the Union’s gross national income (or 2% of total public spending in the EU) and its impact on the economy is debated, with many analysts deeming it relatively small in size in comparison with the wide range of policy areas in which the EU has responsibilities. The European Commission notes that the EU budget is different in nature and function from national budgets, since it is mainly an investment budget with a focus on measures with a European added value.
For those interested in knowing more about the EU budget, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has recently launched a new series of publications on ‘How the EU budget is spent’. The aim is to give a concise overview of the key features of each major EU spending programme and fund for 2014-20, including: the role of the EU in the policy area, objectives, budgetary figures, eligible measures, funded projects and assessment of results.
The first titles in the series already give a taste of the variety of activities funded from the EU budget. The LIFE programme supports projects addressing environment- and climate-related issues and its achievements since 1992 include improved conservation and restoration of 4.7 million hectares of land, and higher air quality for some 12 million people. The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) are aimed at strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion within the EU, by providing a source of investment to reduce disparities in regional development and to help less developed regions to close the gap.
The main objectives of Food and Feed expenditure include contributing to safety along the food chain, protecting the value of related economic sectors, safeguarding public health and consumers as well as animal and plant health. The Consumer programme is designed to implement the financial aspects of the European Consumer Agenda, with a view to enhancing consumer protection throughout the Union. Europe for Citizens finances activities that seek to promote direct participation in EU policies by the public, as well as dialogue between the EU institutions, civil society organisations and local authorities.
Through its Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU helps Member States respond to major natural or man-made disasters, supporting and coordinating the deployment of in-kind assistance (teams, experts and equipment) to countries requesting international assistance. The Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) co-finances national and EU action to promote the efficient management of migration flows, as well as the implementation, strengthening and development of a common EU approach to asylum and migration.
New titles are regularly published in the ‘How the EU budget is spent’ series. Consult the blog for the most recent.