Radical reform of the EU budgetary process has been demanded in a hard-hitting report from an influential Lords committee.
Chairman Lord Radice said: ‘The EU is now getting too big to carry on the spending policies of the past. Money spent at EU level must add value and be targetted at areas where it can be most effective.’
Lord Radice, whose EU committee has completed an inquiry into the future financing of the EU, added that current commission proposals are ‘a missed opportunity’ and the continued predominance of agricultural spending ‘makes no sense’.
The committee recommended the burden of agricultural financing should be handed back to states, structural funding should be limited to Greece, Portugal, the 10 poorest member states and candidate countries Bulgaria and Romania and there is a supporting role for the EU in R&D, infrastructure and education programmes to improve competitiveness.
Its key recommendation is that a high-level review of the budget is needed for the longer term, that Britain must insist on its rebate as long as the CAP is predominant, but that if radical reform is in prospect, the rebate should become negotiable.
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