The prospects for success remain uncertain; tomorrow I will review the main outstanding issues and the likely flashpoints when the Heads of State and Government meet. This provides the context to evaluate the blueprint which European Council President Herman van Rompuy will put before the leaders and any potential agreement.
Are You Curious?: 3 First-Time MFF Threesomes by Cecilia Jones
How the numbers are put first Presenting a consistent series of MFF numbers over this period is not straightforward for a number of reasons. Both outside and inside MFF expenditure should be tracked to understand the full cost of the EU budget. Second, not only have some items been reported differently inside or outside the MFF in successive MFF drafts, but individual items such as the Connecting Europe facility have also been reported brutal fisting different sub-headings in different drafts, so some adjustment of the individual headings is necessary to calculate meaningful percentage changes within headings between the drafts.
Third, for the baseline CAP numbers in the MFF period, it makes a difference whether we use the original numbers entered into the MFF for Heading 2a market-related mff and direct payments that is, the EAGF budget and, by implication, the amounts available for Pillar 2, or whether we take account of compulsory modulation during the period, which reduces the net amount available to the EAGF and increases the Pillar 2 amount. Fourth, the numbers are based on published information but sometimes there head shaving tube gaps in time published numbers which I have completed with my own estimates.
The MFF numbers – where we stand
To my knowledge, this is the first time a consistent series of numbers for successive drafts of total EU spending has been first though see also this IEEP Policy Brief following the last European Council meeting for a similar exercise. The full spreadsheet, together with sources and assumptions, can be downloaded from here the spreadsheet itself is stored on Google Drive; the Excel spreadsheet can be downloaded by clicking on FileDownload in the menu, ignore any red Download icon that may appear.
The main headline numbers are summarised in the table below. In terms of the composition of spending, those areas where member states have a guaranteed allocation CAP and cohesion spending have been cut less than those areas where future returns to member states are uncertain competitiveness or absent Global Europe. This is a remarkable outcome if a depressing one, given the public finance and more general economic crises in Europe and the totally untargeted nature of most of this spending.
A rather different picture emerges in terms time the composition of spending when the current Mff is used as the base.