Europe and the EU

Policy briefs

EU added value

17 Dec 2018 - 16:45
Source: The Euro sign under repair - David Stanley/flickr
Facts-based policy or politicised facts?

This paper is part of a series of three on EU AgenciesEU Added Value and the EU’s Better Regulation policy. Together they give insight into the state of the EU’s efforts to strengthen evidence based policy making in the EU, indicating that the Commission's Better Regulation policy has come far indeed, but also that issues have remained as regards fact-based policymaking on a day-to-day basis.

The EU budget, particularly the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, is one of the central and most sensitive political battles in EU politics. EU budget negotiations comprise different battles at the same time.

Firstly, individual Member States try to defend their perceived national interests while the EU Commission puts great effort in shifting the focus away from national gains to the overall interests of the EU and the added value of acting together.

Secondly, citizens especially in the net-payer countries are (highly) reluctant to contribute to the EU budget. A recent study in the Netherlands shows that citizens perceive the costs of the EU, and the perceived waste involved, as one of the block’s main issues. In these heated debates, EU Added Value (EAV) is an important communication tool of the EU to proof to citizens that EU funds are well spent and that they offer a better deal compared to national spending. As a precondition for the legitimacy of the EU budget, EAV helps to create transparency about the benefits of EU cooperation.

In this policy brief authors Adriaan Schout and Davide Bevacqua analyse the usefulness and consequences of the EAV as guiding principle for reform. They conclude that review of the available material indicates that the concept of EAV does not (yet) live up to the expectations.