26th Jun 2019

EU agency costs mount as budget battle looms

  • Tensions are already high over the size of next year's EU budget (Photo: Jorge Franganillo)

As European leaders prepare to discuss the size of next year's EU budget at a summit in Brussels this week (28-29 October), new data has underlined the growing cost of the bloc's many agencies.

According to figures compiled by the British eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe, the expense of running EU agencies has tripled since 2005 and is set to reach €2.4 billion in 2011.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The fresh analysis comes at a time of rising discord between member states and EU institutions over spending, with the European Parliament last week calling for a 5.9 percent increase in the EU's 2011 budget, despite widespread cutbacks in member states.

Cash-strapped national capitals have already indicated they view a 2.9 percent increase as the limit under current economic conditions, with tough talks between the two sides set to kick off on Wednesday.

"European taxpayers are right to question why they should bankroll the EU's mushrooming bureaucracy when they themselves are being asked to tighten their belts," said Open Europe analyst Sian Herbert.

"Many of these agencies are mere talking shops or deal with issues that shouldn't concern the EU in the first place," he added.

EU agencies are specialised bodies, generally of a technical nature, designed to support EU member states and the institutions. Earlier this month, MEPs refused to sign off the 2008 budget of the European Police College (Cepol) on the grounds that it "has yet to meet good standards of administration."

Treaty change

Discussion on changing the EU's recently implemented Lisbon Treaty is also set to be a hot talking point at this week's summit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently secured the support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy for a reopening of the EU rulebook, but Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Ireland and several other countries are decidedly reluctant, reports the Irish Times.

Berlin insists that attempts at forming a permanent European rescue mechanism would require a change to the Lisbon Treaty, as would a debt restructuring mechanism for member states and a system of political sanctions for governments that break EU deficit limits, both topics Ms Merkel's administration is keen to address.

Others are unhappy about the prospect however, with EU treaty changes likely to require referenda in a number of member states.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.


EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights

Behind the smiles and handshakes, the signature of the EU-Vietnam trade and investment deals agreed on Tuesday and to be signed this week have dire consequences for human well-being and our ability to prevent climate and ecological breakdown.

News in Brief

  1. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  2. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'
  3. Share trading ban looms as Swiss row with EU escalates
  4. Cooperation needed on Brexit, says Johnson
  5. Europe hit by record breaking June heat wave
  6. Liberal split complicates talks on new Spanish government
  7. Italy unravels massive European VAT carousel fraud
  8. Venezuelans cause spike in EU asylum bids

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  2. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  3. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  4. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  5. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  6. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  7. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says
  8. Babis unmoved by EU scam allegations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us