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Facing the Monster ‘Juste Retour’
On the Net Financial Position of Member States vis-ŕ-vis the EU Budget and a Proposal for Reform
Sándor Richter
EU-Consent EU-Budget Working Paper No. 7
August 2008


Under the current system of the EU budget there is no way to avoid extreme net financial positions without exemptions, and the whole bargaining process cannot be based on another principle than that of fighting for a ‘juste retour’. The solution proposed in the paper faces the ‘juste retour’ problem frontally instead of negating or circumventing it. Net financial positions would be pre-fixed and they would reflect the individual member states’ levels of development relative to the EU average. Thus there remains no need for exemptions or any other non-rule-based regulation. An increased flexibility in allocation of EU co-financed expenditures in member states would be able to neutralize ‘juste retour’ motivated discussions on the current and future importance of individual EU policies.

  • The net financial position in the prevailing system: myth and reality
    Major and minor net payers
    Contributions to the Community budget: pay as you earn?
    Expenditures from the EU budget: how to reconcile eternal losers?
    Net financial positions are only one part of the picture
  • The way out from the ‘juste retour’ attitude - proposal for a radical reform
    The guiding principles
    New rules of cross-member state redistribution
    Revenues of the EU budget
    Expenditures of the EU budget
    Net payer member states: better net financial positions after the reform
    Net beneficiary member states: smaller but secured net gains
    Further enlargements affordable in the reformed system
  • Conclusions
Download ›/library/papers/EU-Budget_wp7.pdf