Rowman and Littlefield International

Financing the EU Budget

Moving Forward or Backwards?

By Gabriele Cipriani

Gabriele Cipriani presents a historical overview of the EU revenue system, the context for revenue-raising arrangements and the concept of the EU's “own resources.” He assesses the current system against issues of simplicity, transparency, equity, and democratic accountability and outlines two possible options for reforming the EU revenue system.

Paperback ISBN: 9781783483303 Release date: Nov 2014
£12.95 €16.00 $24.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781783483310 Release date: Nov 2014
£12.95 €16.00 $22.50

Pages: 112


Often described as complex, opaque and unfair, the EU budget financing system is an “unfinished journey.” One of the most critical issues is that EU revenue, drawn from the cashbox of national taxation, remains impalpable to the general public.

The nature of the EU as a union of states and their nationals makes the visibility of EU revenue unavoidable. The political sustainability of a move that would put the legitimacy of EU revenue at the forefront of public discussion will depend on the European Commission’s ability to show that EU funds can achieve results that are truly beyond member states’ reach.

The value-added tax (VAT) is a natural choice for funding the EU budget, through a dedicated EU VAT rate as part of the national VAT and designed as such in fiscal receipts, whose use as a means for raising EU citizens’ awareness could be encouraged already in the current arrangements.

1. The EU budget revenue system
EU revenue: A short history
What do ‘own resources’ actually mean?
To each its own
The price of unanimity
Who pays how much?
Concluding remarks

2. Simplicity, transparency, equity and democratic accountability
Four good reasons for change
The drawbacks of the 2011 Commission’s proposals
New VAT-based resource
Financial transaction tax
Correction mechanism
Reducing the burden on national budgets?
Two categories of revenue sources for the EU budget
Back to the past
Making an EU resource visible to citizens
Concluding remarks

3. EU expenditure: The other side of the same coin
The legitimacy of EU revenue
How much money for the EU budget?
Concluding remarks


Gabriele Cipriani is an official of the European Court of Auditors.

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