Connecting with carbon taxation
Cet article a été publié comme chapitre de l'ouvrage "unlocking a low-carbon Europe: perspectives on EU budget reform", publié par Green Alliance en février 2010. Il est disponible uniquement en anglais en téléchargement sur le site de Green Alliance.
An idea that pervades much of the discussion of EU budget reform is that the problems essentially fall on the expenditure side. The EU budget, it is argued, is a "relic of the past". It is heavily tilted towards agriculture and cohesion and does not provide adequate finance to address today's most acute EU challenges: global competitiveness, energy security or climate change. Budget reform is urgently needed, it is claimed, to "focus EU spending on the right areas".
The European Commission itself has adopted this way of thinking all too quickly. One simply has to look at the way it organised the 2007-2008 budget review. While the mandate from the European Council was for a "comprehensive assessment of both expenditures and revenues", in Commissioner speeches and formal documents the review has been frequently portrayed as an historic opportunity "to discuss future EU priorities and spending needs".
No one can neglect the importance of revising the EU's spending priorities. Yet a narrow focus on expenditures alone is a recipe for failure. History reminds us that previous attempts to undertake an ambitious reform of EU finances have only succeeded when tackling simultaneously all the elements of the budgetary system: expenditures, venues and procedures.3We can endlessly debate EU spending priorities, but this will serve to no avail if we do not address simultaneously the structural factors explaining the pathdependency of EU budgetary negotiations...