This article was also published by Project Syndicate.
It’s theatre season in the European Union. The play, called budget negotiations, is performed every seven years. It pits the EU’s spenders against its savers, donors against receivers, and reformers against conservatives. After the actors have exhausted themselves with bluffs, bullying, blackmail, and betrayal, everybody agrees on minimal changes. Each government claims victory and EU public spending is set in stone until the next performance.
Drama aside, however, watching the negotiation of the multiannual financial framework, as it is called, is a deeply depressing experience. All countries view it from the perspective of net …read more