Posted on 25/04/2012
On the 16 March, Dr Giacomo Benedetto of the Centre for European Politics, Department of Politics and International Relations, chaired a one-day conference on the UK and the Future of the European Union's Budget. The event was co-financed and co-hosted by the European Commission at Royal Holloway's base in central London.
Relations between the UK government and the European Union have always been tense, particularly on how much money the UK contributes to the EU and how much it gets back. This tension has grown with the economic crisis, calls for spending cuts at national and European levels, and a greater number of member countries in the EU, all with their own demands. Amid this, the current budget rules for the EU expire in 2013 and new spending agreements will need to be made for the years between 2014 to 2020. The conference looked at how this future budget would appear, the particular view of the UK, and the effect of any changes in EU spending within the UK.
Participants included academics, civil servants and representatives from think tanks and interest groups, such as the National Farmers' Union. Papers were given on the approach of the European Commission to reform of the budget, on how the budget rules have changed under the Lisbon Treaty, on the negotiation position of the UK government in the run-up to 2014, on the future of the Britsh discount from the EU budget and on the futures of the agricultural and regional development spending in the UK by the EU after 2014.