The budget has constituted one of the most debated and important issues at the political and at the academic level since the inception of the European Economic Community and in the ensuing evolution to the European Community and to the European Union (EU). The changes in its structure and composition are then crucial elements to understanding of the historical and political developments of the European Union and of its legal and economic perspectives. Given that the EU budget is mainly composed of transfers from Member States to the Union, the political negotiation always begins in the Council, where the heads of state and government define the strategic directions of the Union and set the overall amounts of the programming period. Subsequently, the European Commission presents a proposal that is first approved by the European Parliament and then by the Council of the EU. The Lisbon Treaty aimed at reinforcing the role of the EU Parliament to make the discussion more democratic. In this way, the budget would become a fruitful dialogue between European institutions, which are stakeholders of different interest groups. The financial planning would then become a fundamental open space of political confrontation, despite the expected tensions between institutions.
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Luca Zamparini and Ubaldo Villani-Lubelli
Nicholas Perdikis and Laurie Perdikis
The chapter begins with a brief historical overview of the principal catalysts, both economic and political for European economic integration, before moving on to discuss the theoretical foundations of economic integration and the economic and trade implications of the Treaty of Rome. The chapter then proceeds to outline the development of the EU’s trade policy and how this was affected by its deepening and widening, as well as the impact international factors had on that process. The principal areas of EU trade policy are also covered – in particular its multilateral aspects, its bilateral and plurilateral arrangements and its unilateral policy covering the Generalised Scheme of Preferences or GSP. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the future direction and re-calibration of the EU’s trade policy towards relationships with Far Eastern economies via its ‘Trade for All’ policy document.
Sangeeta Khorana and María García
There are strong linkages between religion, bureaucratic organization, citizen preferences, and political regimes. The views of Lipset and Rokkan, Marx, Lukacs, Marcuse, Adorno, Weber, and Durkheim are discussed. The choice of these thinkers relates to the three grand themes that are discussed in the book: (1) The linkage between religion and political regimes in terms of social welfare expectations by the electorate, surveillance incentives, and collectivist distribution by bureaucrats; (2) The religious traditions that shape the administrative structures of local or regional communities; and (3) The different levels of policy discretion, administrative monitoring, and centralization that correspond to different sets of religious norms adopted by citizens and bureaucrats. The critique of conventional social theory treats religion in its key dimensions: as state structure, party cleavage, and social welfare.
Ulf Bernitz, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson
The introductory chapter provides an overview of the great social challenge that the EU currently faces. The editors raise the question of what can be done to bridge the prosperity gap in Europe. First, they briefly describe the background: the social dimension of European cooperation and its historical development. Second, they identify the new social challenges that the Union faces in the wake of the Great Recession, the ongoing refugee crisis, and the Brexit referendum. Third, an analytical point of departure for examining these challenges is presented, consisting of an interdisciplinary approach that pinpoints a number of overarching problems and possibilities associated with the social dimension of European integration. Fourth and finally, the book’s chapters are introduced, and their key policy recommendations are summarized. The chapter concludes with the argument that much of the EU’s future relevance and ability to stay together depends on its capacity to counteract the prosperity gap and reverse the negative trend that emerged during the crisis.