The future of the EU

This weekend the heads of the European states couldn’t agree on a new EU budget for 2007. The Dutch want to pay less, the UK want to keep their rebate, the Swedes are also worried, the French want their agricultural subsidies and what the Spanish want, I don’t know. They probably want to keep their subsidies as well, as they have received a lot in the last decades.

It is an interesting development because the issue is not about the budget but about in which direction the EU is going develop in next 10 – 20 years. There are those who want to develop the EU into one political and cultural integrated European state and there are those who want an integrated Europe, but only on an economical level. Up to now the development has been to move to a political and cultural integrated Europe. But decisions made in the past about the agricultural subsidies and the UK rebates are like a ball and chain and are blocking any development and discussion about this. The expansion of the EU with the Eastern European countries also raises questions whether this is the right way and whether this is feasible in this short timeframe.

Going back to the recently held referenda in France and the Netherlands you could conclude that a political integrated EU is too ambitious. I think the EU leaders should concentrate in building the EU into a lean and mean organisation focused on making the EU a strong economy.