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From Politicised Budgeting to Political Budgets in the EU?

Accepted for the International Conference on Public Policy, Milan 1-4 July 2015

From Politicised Budgeting to Political Budgets in the EU?

by Ronny Patz & Klaus H. Goetz


"Recent studies on the evolution of the EU budget suggest that punctuated equilibrium models
best explain its evolution over time. However, a number of factors have combined to bring
about major changes in the processes of budgeting in the EU. The paper outlines the drivers
of this change in the light of relevant theories, showing how growing politicisation of EU
budgeting and the increasing importance of electoral cycles in EU policy-making have led the
EU Commission, in conjunction with the European Parliament, to seek to tie budgeting closer
to its own, electorally defined mandate. Following the 2014 European elections, the Juncker
Commission developed an investment plan that would signal this electorally-driven change
without requiring a formal adaptation of the budget procedure. While it is too early to speak
of an irreversible development, there are clear indications that we may be witnessing a major
shift in the developmental logic of the EU budget. If formalised, cyclical EU budgeting
processes could establish the foundations for political budget cycles."

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