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The EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework and some implications for CESEE countries


  • Zsolt Darvas


  • Guntram B. Wolff


The European Union’s budget – which is fundamentally different from the budgets of federal countries and amounts to only about 1% of the EU’s gross national income – continues to be heavy on agricultural and cohesion spending. The literature shows that the EU’s common agricultural policy (accounting for 38% of EU spending from the current budget) provides good income support, especially for richer farmers, but is less effective for greening and biodiversity and is unevenly distributed. The EU’s cohesion policy (accounting for 34% of current EU spending) contributes to convergence, but it is unclear how strong and long-lasting the effects are. Spending on new priorities such as border control could require additional funds of at least EUR 100 billion in the 2021–2027 period, but there will be a EUR 94 billion Brexit-related hole in the EU budget for 2021–2027 if the EU loses the United Kingdom’s share of contributions and the EU’s work program as a share of gross national income remains unchanged. The European Commission’s May 2, 2018, proposal for the 2021–2027 budget makes several welcome steps in reforming the EU budget, e.g. by reorganizing spending commitments toward priorities which have gained more importance recently, while reducing the share of spending on agriculture and cohesion policies. But many details remain quite fuzzy and need to be spelled out further before a critical appraisal can be made. Moreover, the new draft budget for agriculture foresees larger cuts for rural development support – important for environment and biodiversity goals – than for direct subsidies to farmers. Also, we would argue that the European Commission needs to make a significantly stronger attempt at measuring the actual “European value added” of the various proposed initiatives. Therefore, while we regard the European Commission’s proposal a good basis for subsequent negotiations, we propose a number of significant changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Zsolt Darvas & Guntram B. Wolff, 2018. "The EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework and some implications for CESEE countries," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q3-18, pages 77-86.
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbfi:y:2018:i:q3-18:b:7

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Benedicta Marzinotto, 2012. "The growth effects of EU cohesion policy: a meta-analysis," Working Papers 754, Bruegel.
    2. Fratesi, Ugo & Perucca, Giovanni, 2014. "Territorial Capital and the Effectiveness of Cohesion Policies: an Assessment for CEE Regions," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 29, pages 165-191.
    3. Guido Pellegrini & Flavia Terribile & Ornella Tarola & Teo Muccigrosso & Federica Busillo, 2013. "Measuring the effects of European Regional Policy on economic growth: A regression discontinuity approach," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(1), pages 217-233, March.
    4. Carlos Pinho & Celeste Varum & Micaela Antunes, 2015. "Structural Funds and European Regional Growth: Comparison of Effects among Different Programming Periods," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(7), pages 1302-1326, July.
    5. Becker, Sascha O. & Egger, Peter H. & von Ehrlich, Maximilian, 2018. "Effects of EU Regional Policy: 1989-2013," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 143-152.
    6. Guntram B. Wolff, 2017. "Beyond the Juncker and Schäuble visions of euro-area governance," Policy Briefs 23037, Bruegel.
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    More about this item


    multi-annual EU budget; common agricultural policy; cohesion policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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