On September 25th 2017 we attended European Commission's conference on the future of EU finances, that took place in Brussels. Many prominent speakers like Mr Günther Oettinger, Member of the European Commission responsible for Budget and Human Resources, and Mr Mario Monti, Chair of the High-level Group on Own Resources, shared their view of how the future of the EU should look like.
Europe is now in the midst of reflection process and the future of EU finances is more important than ever as it could shape the future of the EU itself. Panelists and speakers were discussing, among all, added value of the money spent by EU, security and how realistic is to expect the higher EU budget. Mr Daniel Gros, director for the Centre for European Policy Studies, had presentation about understanding the value added of the EU budget, providing a look at some major spending categories, claiming that the focus has to be shifted from the agriculture to the European public goods like research and innovation, security and financial stability. Long term budget plan makes the budget unflexible and it was proved to be inefficient in the time of economic crisis or migration crisis. Ms Marie Stavropoulou,
Director of the Asylum Service of Greece also pointed out that, when it comes to migration crisis, money is indispensable, but it is not the solution itself. According to Mr Mario Monti, nowadays, because of the high level of fear caused by migration and terrorism, people are demanding public goods, like security, and not more income. Many speakers were putting accent on the importance of security, highlighting the benefits of the common European coast guard and police. Many important questions about the common security were raised - could we expect to see European FBI or intelligence service in the near future? Of course, it all costs money, and to assign more money to new projects we need the budget to grow. Mr Günther Oettinger wondered if the EU can to prove the added value of every Euro spent, were the states ready to put more money into the EU budget.