Written by Alina Dobreva,
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.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Public opinion and the EU budget – Who supports the EU budget? ‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.