The EU’s most important economic project is the European internal market. Other recognised goals include ensuring respect of the fundamental freedoms and deepening economic integration. The extent to which a functioning internal market requires the coordination or harmonisation of national policies, however, is debatable. The EU is also expected to bring together the interests of member states in the fields of foreign and security policy, migration policy and international environmental policy. Against this background, various indications suggest that the structure of the EU budget is focused on backward-looking and redistributive spending, where it is not clear that value is being created and that there is a sufficient contribution to tackling the challenges ahead. The revenue side of the EU budget is also controversial. The distribution of the budget burden is often criticised as unfair, amid calls for new types of own-resources funding or even EU taxes. In addition, budget adjustments are now required to accommodate Britain’s imminent exit from the EU.
Three example research questions posed by EconPol Europe in this area are:
- In which areas do barriers to cross-border commercial trade in the European internal market still exist and what would be needed to eliminate them?
- What are the consequences of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU for the EU budget and for the internal market?
- Should the financing of the EU budget be changed, and if so, how?