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Die EU vor der Osterweiterung: Reformchancen im Europäischen Konvent nutzen

Press Release of November 27, 2002

The EU is very ill prepared for the entry of less prosperous countries with predominantly agricultural economies, because fundamental reform of the EU policies that affect the budget is still largely overdue. The DIW Berlin reaches this conclusion in the current weekly report 48/2002. However, according to the DIW Berlin the fear of an explosive increase in spending as a result of eastern enlargement of the EU is unfounded. DIW Berlin evolved a number of EU budget scenarios. They are based on calculations of the effects the entry of twelve new member states and the implementation of the main options for reform could have on the budget and the net payment positions of the individual member states. According to these calculations, between Euro 23 and 27 billion, depending on the scenario, will flow to the new members (Acceding Countries - AC 10) in 2013 when all the transition phases have come to an end. In return the EU will receive Euro 3 to 4 billion in contributions. If the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) is transferred in full about 8 to 10 billion Euro will be needed in that field for the ten new ten members. The projection of funds for the EU15 depend heavily on assumptions about the shape of agricultural and structural policy after 2006. If the status quo is maintained the figure will be a good 60 billion Euro (in 1999 prices) in 2013. If ten new members join the costs will rise to 77 billion Euro. If reforms are carried out in both policy areas the sum will fall noticeably. Transfers of that size (between 0,5 and 0,9% of the total GDP) would certainly not be an unacceptable load for the present EU member states.
However, reforms of the particularly cost-intensive agricultural and structural policies are nevertheless needed in order to avoid a senseless use of resources and release funds for new tasks, such as security policy. The decisions taken at the Brussels summit in October this year will make enlargement possible, but they do little to prepare the EU for this. The costs to agricultural policy of enlarging the EU by ten new members is now met without notable contributions form the present recipients. This simple trick of allowing inflation indexing of the agricultural budget serves this purpose. The central objective of the net payers, to link the enlargement with reforms, has thus not been achieved. On the contrary, the signals are now set for adjustment of the direct payments to the price trend.
As the Council was not prepared or not able to carry out reforms, the responsibility now lies with the Convention. In concrete terms it should first propose that the objective of securing farmers' income, which is laid down in the EU Treaty, should be abolished. Secondly, the EU Treaty should lay down that EU's structural policy is to be concentrated on member states with a clearly under-average per capita GDP. Thirdly, the rules on decision-making in the Council under the Nice Treaty are counterproductive. The 'double majority' procedure should be instigated, allowing decisions to be taken if they are supported by a majority of the member states who represent a majority of the EU population. Fourthly, the possibility must be created in the treaties for EU policies to be developed further even if opposed by a small, blocking minority. That will require dropping the need for unanimity for amendments to the treaties in most cases.