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The EU budget after Lisbon: rigidity and reduced spending?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2013

Giacomo Benedetto*
Department of Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK E-mail:


This article examines the changes of the Lisbon Treaty to the rules on agreeing the European Union's (EU) annual budget and multiannual financial framework. The comparative budgets literature as well as theories of agenda-setting, veto players and empowerment of the European Parliament inform the analysis of how the EU's budgetary powers changed and the likely outcomes on spending. Overall, the powers of the European Parliament are reduced, the budget becomes more inflexible and, most significantly, the rules of the Lisbon Treaty have the effect of reducing the amounts available to spend. Although the Lisbon Treaty grants the European Parliament greater influence over ordinary EU legislation, national governments seem to have used the same treaty to send the Parliament's budgetary powers in the opposite direction and to curtail EU expenditure.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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