Zeitschrift für Staats- und Europawissenschaften
The current situation of the European Union is being characterised by three main features. First of all, a budget agreement was reached on the Brussels European Council in December 2005. Secondly, a future reform of the budget has been agreed upon; and thirdly, the debate on the future of Europe has been continuing with a fair degree of vigour since the Constitutional Treaty votes in the earlier part of 2005. Although many people, especially in the European Parliament, would have preferred a higher budget, we believe that the settlement we achieved is the best solution under these circumstances. I would also like to stress that there is a significant transfer of resources from the wealthy to the poorer Member States. Indeed, according to our calculations, the Structure and Cohesion Funds for the accession countries will increase from about € 24 billion to over € 170 billion. This is an important statement to make about the purpose of the EU budget, i.e. to enable enlargement to be a success.