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Friday, January 23, 2009

When the European Commission reviews its budget

Source: Concord Flash, nr. 56, November/December 2008

The European Commission’s budget review was one of the hot topics in 2008. Development NGOs were particularly interested
in this review, which will set the future amounts and headings in the budget for the long term, because the current structure of the European budget conceals the EU’s significant contribution to the volume of resources which are available for development.

In December 2007, the European Civil Society Contact Group (CSCG), of which CONCORD is a member, organised a conference on the European budget for the future and submitted its contribution to the consultation of the European Commission. Following that, the European Commission held a conference to present the results of the consultation. However, the CSCG was not entirely happy with the outcomes and wrote a letter to the Commissioner for Financial programming and Budget, Ms Grybauskaite, pointing out:

♦ the too high a level of abstraction in the summary of the consultation responses both in the written form and in the way they were presented in the conference;

♦ the lack of reference to solidarity as a driver in EU policy and EU budgetary planning in the consultation summary;

♦ the question of legitimacy of the budget and engagement of European citizens with the EU through transparency of the income side is not reflected in the summary;

♦ in terms of the choice of speakers and panel members for the conference sessions (plenary and workshop sessions), the CSCG felt that a ratio of 3 women among a total of 38 speakers displayed a clear lack of gender balance and a lack of gender awareness.

The CSCG was also concerned that voices which diverged from the views presented would not be reflected in the summary. For example, the summary of the consultation contained almost no reference to solidarity as a driver in EU policy and EU budgetary planning, although it was mentioned by many representatives of the civil society. Another example: the workshop on
financing did discuss the question of legitimacy of the budget and engagement of European citizens with the EU. Some participants mentioned the connection between transparency, legitimacy, and a visible EU tax. But these did not find their way into the summary of the consultation. Click here and read the letter.

For further information: Regula Heggli from the CSCG

See also Euforic's newsfeeds on EU cooperation, and on Concord

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