The European Union exists to deliver value added to its 500 million citizens. I believe it can be a force for economic renewal in Europe and globally. To do this, we need a budget that is innovative, attuned to the new realities of globalisation, and that responds to today’s challenges and creates opportunities for tomorrow.
All across Europe, governments, businesses and families are choosing carefully where to spend their money. It is a time to think carefully about where to cut back and where to invest for the future.
The European Union must also live within its means while investing for the future. We have a relatively small budget of only around 1% of Europe’s wealth (measured by GNI) which represents around one fiftieth of the budgets of Member States. But it is a budget that is important because it is almost entirely spent on investments, not consumption, and can make a real difference if the right choices are made.
The European Union is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries.
It has delivered half a century of peace, stability, and prosperity, helped raise living standards, launched a single European currency, and is progressively building a single Europe-wide market in which people, goods, services, and capital move among Member States as freely as within one country.
The EU was created in the aftermath of the second world war. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: countries that trade with one another are economically interdependent and will thus avoid conflict.
Since then, the union has developed into a huge single market with the euro as its common currency. What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organisation spanning all areas, from development aid to environmental policy.
The EU actively promotes human rights and democracy and has the most ambitious emission reduction targets for fighting climate change in the world. Thanks to the abolition of border controls between EU countries, it is now possible for people to travel freely within most of the EU. It has also become much easier to live and work in another EU country.