Wednesday

24th Jan 2018

Opinion

An EU budget for recovery and Europe’s citizens

  • Warsaw: the EU spends five times more per capita in rural areas through CAP compared to funding in urban areas through structural funds (Photo: metaphox)

Europe is at a critical juncture, both economically and politically. Governments at all levels continue to feel the squeeze on public resources.

The next long term budget for the EU must reflect this by directing EU spending and investment where it makes the greatest and most visible impact for the majority of citizens. This would truly be a step towards both 'better spending’ and change in the EU in terms of economic recovery and restoring public confidence.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Generating 85 percent of GDP, our major cities are the drivers of Europe’s economic growth.

At the same time, our cities are where the brunt of the crisis is being felt, and where social unrest and political discontent is most evident. A budget for Europe 2020 must recognise cities’ potential for playing a much greater role in Europe’s economic recovery and therefore the urgent priority for investment in urban Europe. The European Commission’s proposal to include an urban premium in the allocation method for structural funds did partly that and should be maintained.

Our continent’s model of well-managed urban concentration is the most sustainable form of development: our cities are our assets.

Only metropolitan Europe can compete with the power of emerging megacities of Asia and Latin America. An ambitious urban agenda across EU funding programmes is not only important for our cities but for the economic future of Europe as a whole.

Structural funds and programmes such as Horizon 2020 and the Connecting Europe Facility can help ensure vital investments, in cities and beyond, by attracting private and public resources to achieve the multiplier effect that is so important to make the most of every euro spent.

It is about maintaining and strengthening the initiatives that make a visible difference to peoples’ lives, creating jobs and supporting the development of innovative solutions and the green economy.

This also includes initiatives that promote urban-rural collaboration, recognising the potential for cities and their surrounding areas to jointly promote territorial cohesion across the EU. Therefore, it is critical that the funding programmes investing in our cities are not undermined by the decisions on the overall budget ceiling.

But as member states failed to agree on a new long term EU budget at the summit in November 2012, what seemed to be most in jeopardy are the very measures proposed by the Commission to support the "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" that is Europe 2020’s goal.

In addition to proposing cuts to structural funds, new programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Connecting Europe recently came under pressure as ministers looked to maintain funds for agriculture and sparsely populated regions.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has traditionally been, for good reasons, the main plank of the EU budget.

Clearly, food security is important to all of us.

But currently the EU spends five times more per capita in rural areas through CAP compared to funding in urban areas through structural funds.

Yet the contribution of CAP to delivering the Europe 2020 objectives remains limited. And agricultural and rural expenditure is less visible and reaches far fewer people than structural funds investment, in particularly in urban areas where 75 percent of the population lives.

The agreement on the next financial framework must fully take account of the scope for better balancing the investments in Europe’s territories.

The immediate costs of a new financial framework may be painful for member states in the current economic situation.

But can Europe afford a budget that ignores the vital contribution our cities can make to a smarter, greener and more inclusive Europe by 2020 and beyond to the benefit of all Europeans?

The author is Mayor of Warsaw and President of Eurocities, a Brussels-based association

Europe is lacking tech leadership

Despite some 'unicorns', Europe lags way behind the US in tech innovation - and is in danger of being overtaken by China, whilst preoccupied by the online threat from Russia. The EU needs to back France's Macron's new thinking.

Taking full benefit of supercomputers in Europe

Newly-announced financial help for so-called 'supercomputers' can help both EU member states, and small and medium-sized companies to grow - in fields such as health diagnostics, driverless cars and even earthquake predicting.

Ten Commandments to overcome the EU's many crises

A series of missteps - from the faulty institutional infrastructure of the euro, to the migration crisis - have left the EU battered and in near crisis. Here are ten steps to re-democratise the union.

EU's 'old men' must pressure Poland on abortion rights

Despite fresh crackdowns on Poland's already restrictive abortion laws, EU commission president Juncker did not raise the issue with the new Polish PM Morawiecki - perhaps because it was an all-male event?

News in Brief

  1. Auditors criticise EU economic governance implementation
  2. Dutch environment group appeals air quality ruling
  3. Commission opens case into Polish railways state aid
  4. EU remove eight places from tax havens blacklist
  5. UK to keep forces in Germany over Russia fears
  6. Finnish presidential vote could go to second round
  7. Report: EU might pay Brexit residency fees for EU citizens
  8. Puigdemont free to travel around EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Free AlllianceNo Justice From the Spanish Supreme Court Ruling
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  3. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  5. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  7. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  9. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  10. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  11. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  12. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit

Latest News

  1. Berlusconi in Brussels on pre-election charm offensive
  2. ECJ should rule against Austrian online censorship lawsuit
  3. EU states loosen grip on tax havens
  4. Facebook promises privacy reboot ahead of new EU rules
  5. Europe is lacking tech leadership
  6. Spitzenkandidat system here to stay, MEPs warn capitals
  7. MEPs to keep 28 UK seats after Brexit
  8. Norway defends new Arctic oil drilling

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  2. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  3. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  4. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  5. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  6. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  7. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  8. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  9. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  11. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  12. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City