The EU budget faces a tough challenge to fund more with less. The EU is expected to play a bigger role in new policy areas like migration, internal and external security or defence. And Europe should also preserve its leading role on the global stage, as a major humanitarian and development aid donor and as a leader of the fight against climate change. That must be achieved with an EU budget that will only get smaller following the departure of the United Kingdom.
Today's reflection paper looks at this challenge and puts the key elements for discussion on the table, structured around the five scenarios of the White Paper: will the EU simply carry on, do less together, move ahead at different levels of intensity, do less but more efficiently or do much more together? Each of these illustrative scenarios would have different consequences - both in terms of how much to spend for what purpose, and on where the money could come from. Options range from reducing spending for existing policies to increasing revenues.
In addition, the reflection paper sets out the basic features of the EU budget and charts the principal trends and developments in key policy areas like cohesion or agriculture. It also addresses overarching issues like the added value of EU funding or the articulation between EU funding and structural reforms in Member States.