EU leaders will meet on Thursday to decide how to finance Europe over the next seven years.
They hope to approve the bloc’s next budget by Friday. Some one trillion euros is at stake.
That’s roughly 250 euros per European taxpayer each year.
The battle will be over those who defend a large agricultural budget and those who simply want ‘less Europe’.
But where to cut and by how much?
Some small and medium enterprises are able to tap EU funds.
Phytorem, a French ‘green’ firm, specialises in purifying dirty water using bamboo sticks.
In 2009, it received co-funding from the EU amounting to 350,000 euros.
That money helped its founder find new business and start production on an industrial scale.
Deputy CEO Veronique Arfi said the money “helped us set up such an industrial-scale project”.
But this programme could well be on the chopping block. Financing to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) enter the marketplace represents just 0.2 percent of the budget.
Cuts are likely in the scramble to find savings.
Herman Van Rompuy suggests a budget of 973 billion euros, about 25 billion less than the Commission’s original proposal.
Amid all the chatter amongst EU leaders about jobs and growth, it is likely some of the money earmarked for infrastructure spending will face the axe.
The EU’s agricultural budget, as well as cash set aside to help poorer regions, make up two-thirds of the overall pile.
But the countries that benefit most from those programmes have vowed to veto any cuts.
Van Rompuy’s budget is still too high for fiscal hawk, the UK.
Senior EU sources say London will push for a figure well below 960 billion — a figure floated by diplomats as Van Rompuy’s next best compromise.
Multiannual Financial Framework 07-13 / 14-20