August 17, 2012
Only few people know the exact amount of the European budget. Many citizens think that the European budget is very large, that the European institutions spend ridiculous amount of the taxpayers’ money and even that the public European administration is composed of hundreds of thousands of civil servants .
Instead , it is not true.
The amount of the annual budget is almost 140 BN euros, less than the budget of all major European Cities. The expenditures are implemented first of all by the regions and member states and the number of civil servants is very small in comparison to the other public administrations. The real cost for one European taxpayer is almost 60 cents a day, about the cost of a cup of Joe .
But, despite the scarcity of European resources , the citizens call on the European institutions to realize initiatives in every sector, from the cohesion policy to the agricultural policy to the research policy, SMEs, education, youth ,and others. At the end of August a new meeting is scheduled for the 27 Member States’ foreign ministers who have to agree on the amount of their contributions for the next European budget , the so-called financial perspectives 2014-2020. Unfortunately the Member States maintain a position that doesn’t reveal the future state of the FP , whether it will be strengthened and reformed . Rather there are many Member States led by the UK that want to cut the budget, as others are interested only in keeping their priorities, like France that defends CAP, or the Governments of the East that defend regional policy.
A general vision and adequate courage is absent in order to increase the budget and to devote more money to the headings concerning research ,education ,scholarship ,news technologies ,innovation ,Erasmus ,green economy and physical infrastructure such as highways, high-speed rail, ports, and airports . Less money to the cows and more money to the brains, said Tony Blair many years ago speaking to the European parliament. The right words, but forgotten very soon even by Blair. I hope that for this important challenge a large debate will be opened in public opinion because the citizens will be correctly informed and they will understand that 27 heads of government , some particularly greedy,cannot decide the destiny of Europe.Author : Gianni PITTELLA MEP