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Ubaldo Villani-Lubelli and Luca Zamparini

This book has provided a multidisciplinary analysis of the EU budget encompassing historical, political, legal and economic perspectives. As it was highlighted in the introduction, such a multidisciplinary approach has allowed to disentangle several topics for which single disciplines would not be able to provide a comprehensive evaluation. The contributions were carefully chosen in order to cover a wide spectrum of relevant themes characterizing the EU budget. Part 1 of the book (Historical and Political Profiles) has been identified given the consideration that there is a tight linkage between the evolution of the EU budget and the overall development of the European Union, especially in terms of integration among Member States. Part 2 (Legal and Economic Profiles) has been deemed necessary considering the ongoing debate on the need to reform the EU budget and of the trade-off between unity and flexibility. Moreover, legal and economic measures have a clear impact on the democratic legitimacy and on the political representation of the European Union.

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Features and Challenges of the EU Budget

A Multidisciplinary Analysis

Edited by Luca Zamparini and Ubaldo Villani-Lubelli

Since the inception of the European Economic Community, the EU budget has been one of the most contested and important issues. The evolution of its structure and composition has also reflected the overall development of the EU. From a multidisciplinary approach, this book examines the current features and challenges of the EU budget. It provides historical, political, legal, and economic analyses, alongside a discussion of its future development. The book will prove timely and relevant for scholars, practitioners and policy makers alike.
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Luca Zamparini and Ubaldo Villani-Lubelli

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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William A. Kerr

Singapore, through the colonial era up to the present, has fulfilled an entrepôt role in European-Asian economic trade. This role continues, but Singapore has increasingly promoted and undertaken the role of being a bridge between Asian business culture and western business culture. The government of Singapore has actively encouraged the city to become a centre of western-style financial institutions and a place where an uncorrupt ‘rule of law’ is applied to commercial transactions. On the other hand, the Singapore business community has strong traditional relation-based networks across Asia. It is a place where European Union business persons can operate in a familiar milieu yet connect with wider markets across Asia. To facilitate this relationship both Singapore and the EU have negotiated formal trade, financial and broader-based agreements. The chapter reviews a selection of these formal agreements.

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Jappe Eckhardt

News reports often talk about the political influence that major corporations and industry groups have on EU trade policy decisions. But exactly what role do business actors play in EU trade policy-making? And why do EU policy-makers listen to the demands of firms and their lobby groups? This chapter tries to answer these questions by identifying the type of firms involved in EU trade politics, analysing their political strategies and influence, as well as detailing the institutional setting in which EU trade policy-making takes place. In doing so, this chapter provides a detailed account of business-government relations in current EU trade politics and how these dynamics have changed over time.

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Johan Adriaensen

What role does the Council of the European Union fulfil in EU trade policy? In this chapter, I argue that the Council fulfils both a legislative as well as an executive function. Starting from the legal foundations, three different instruments of EU trade policy are distinguished, each with their own decision-making procedures and each with a different role for the Council. Supplanting such a legal framework with an administrative perspective provides the reader with the type of practical knowledge that facilitates a better understanding of the existing literature but also clarifies the aptness of a focus on both the Council’s legislative and executive roles. A third layer adds a political perspective by overviewing the academic literature. This perspective highlights the Council’s role (1) as a legislative body, seeking to control the European Commission (particularly in external negotiations), (2) as a defender of national competencies before the court of justice, and (3) as an executive body whose decision-making process is less characterized by political conflict and bargaining and more by collective problem-solving, coordination and cooperation. The chapter ends with a prospective outlook and lays down three directions for future research on the Council in the domain of trade policy.

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Sangeeta Khorana and W. Gregory Voss

This chapter focuses on the importance of the impact of e-commerce and digital technologies in the transition from the European single market into a Digital Single Market (DSM). Highlighted is the opportunity that this change may present to enable the growth of the European Union’s international trade by capitalising on the potential of electronic transactions to enhance trust within the European digital framework. Key issues of data protection and data localization – the former leading to trust, while the latter causes fragmentation – and the importance of data security for trust and the interoperability of data flows under the DSM are analysed.

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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.

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Tony Heron and Peg Murray-Evans

In the twenty-first century, relations between the EU and Africa have been defined by intense diplomatic activity. In this chapter, we survey the focal point of this activity – the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) – and highlight an unresolved tension between the economic dimension (reciprocity in matters of trade and investment) and the political dimension (institution building and the promotion of regional integration) of this process. We provide a background to contemporary EU-Africa trade relations before looking at the interregional dimension more specifically. We note the diverse array of different functional logics that have historically defined African regionalism, both prior to and in parallel with the EPAs. Accordingly, the influence of the EPA negotiations on these (partially if not wholly independent) processes of integration has been highly uneven and contradictory. We conclude by considering these effects with respect to each African ‘region’ and the longer-term implications for African governance and development.

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Leïla Choukroune

The EU trade dispute resolution strategy is currently reshaped by new initiatives, from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EUVFTA), in which the need for human rights-related provisions integration and clarification, including for dispute settlement, have partially been taken into account. It is in the dispute settlement domain that sovereign States’ interests are challenged, while emerging trade giants like China or India, and a number of Asian developing countries, are deploying all their heterodox economic strategy. In this general context, this chapter questions the concepts of the peaceful multilateral settlement of disputes in reference to a number of key disputes between the EU and Developing Asia. It concludes in qualifying developing Asia’s activism as a form of assertive legalism for political autonomy and proposes a new strategy for the EU to address developing-Asia-related trade disputes.