National campaigns under a European flag


Waving the European flag, even in national electoral campaigns, makes perfect sense for every EU member state and each of the communities in their respective countries. This is not only true for ideological reasons but also because the vast majority of the problems that politics is currently required to address lie beyond the scope of national politics.

Waving the European flag, even in national electoral campaigns, makes perfect sense for every EU member state and each of the communities in their respective countries. This is not only true for ideological reasons but also because the vast majority of the problems that politics is currently required to address lie beyond the scope of national politics.

 Populists and those seeking to retain national sovereignty will never be able to demonstrate that the advantages of living in an EU country are not both immediate and sweeping. Within the Union’s countries, for example, one reaps
the benefits produced by the community’s budget, a multiplier of scant national budgets; one can access economies of scale to employ funds in a more efficient way; and one can promote best practices, which are easily exported from one country to all other member states so that their citizens can ensure that the advantages are passed on as soon as possible. More generally, the added value provided by membership in the European Union amplifies the actions of the individual member states.

The prospects open to the EU budget are worth considering. At the moment, the budget amounts to approximately 1% of the European Union’s GDP, a very small proportion when compared to other federal budgets. In the US, for example, the federal budget is equivalent to 20% of the country’s GDP. Of the 1% of EU GDP that constitutes the European Union’s budget, 80% is currently returned (through a variety of cost items) to the states that provide it. However, the net redistributive impact is rather limited, For every €1,000 difference in per capita income among citizens of the Union, the EU budget only reduces the gap by €11 (a ratio of 1.1%). By comparison, according to a
recent study by Feyrer and Sacerdote, the balancing effect of the federal budget in the US amounts to 40% (35 times more). The macroeconomic stabilisation of the EU’s budget is also very limited. An average per capita income reduction of €1,000 in a given year is only compensated by €8. In order to gain some perspective as to what our goal might be, the US federal budget covers €253, the equivalent of a stabilising effect that is 30 times larger.

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