Destinations Magazine

The European Union Budget: The Gourmands of Brussels

By Stizzard
The European Union budget: The gourmands of Brussels

THE European Union is on the verge of cutting its spending for the first time ever. A 3% cut in real terms will save €34 billion ($ 47 billion) from the seven-year budget framework for 2014-20. For Britain’s David Cameron, who pressed the hardest for a cut, this is a triumph. But every silver lining has a cloud: EU spending on administration will still rise, by a total of 8% in real terms.The sums involved are relatively small: the total budget is only 1% of EU GDP, and just 6% of this goes on administration. Yet it has political resonance. Taxpayers do not like paying for civil servants at the best of times. Spending more on Brussels bureaucrats at a time of deep recession and high unemployment is even harder to swallow.A European Commission spokesman likens EU governments to a restaurant customer who wants more, better and cheaper food. But the EU institutions could do more and better for less. There is plenty of fat to trim: generous tax breaks, far higher average pay than in national governments and benefits that include a 16% expat top-up and payment for children’s education until they are 26.A rare chance to cut back was missed when staff regulations were…

The Economist: Europe

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