European Union leaders are currently negotiating the EU‘s € 1 trillion budget for the period 2014-2020. This pays for things like the Common Agricultural Policy, regional expenditure, development aid, research policy and environment programmes.
Unfortunately a large proportion of this money is also spent in ways that are destructive to the environment, society and economy. For instance much of the farming sector that receives EU subsidies is involved in polluting our land, air and waterways as well as reducing biodiversity. The EU’s Cohesion Policy also supports many projects like road building construction or energy infrastructures that are carbon intensive and contribute to climate change.
The negotiations on the EU budget (or Multiannual Financial Framework) are likely to last until the end of 2013 when the European Parliament, Member States and the European Commission will find agreement on what should be funded, how the budget will be distributed ,who will pay and how much they will pay. While the overall EU budget represents only 1% of the European GDP, it leverages significant funding from national governments and private investors through co-financing agreements. This ensures that the budget has a multiplier effect which boosts economic activity, and has a considerable impact on how member states plan ahead.