Saturday, June 04, 2005

Who Gets What From The EU?

I promised to get a definitive answer in an earlier post. But every source I've found has had a problem with it. Still, the Best is the Enemy of the Good, so here's the least bad to date.

It's published by Terry Wynn, a Labour Member of the European Parliament (the one that few Brits vote for and which uses the hated Party List system). He was was the Chairman of the EU Parliament's Budgets Committee from 1999 - 2004, which oversees the £70bn EU Budget.

This shows in the right hand TOTAL column the actual FY2002 payments by members in Euros.
(BE=Belgium; DK=Denmark); DE=Germany; EL=Greece; ES=Spain; FR=France; IE=Ireland;IT=Italy; LU=Luxembourg; NL=Holland; AT=Austria; PT=Portugal; FI=Finland; SE=Sweden; UK=UK)

Update 1 Beware! The column headings are not what they seem!
- TOR is a cut of import and agricultural duties that nations pay direct to the EU
- VAT is a cut of nations' Value Added Tax - from the rather weaselly explanation, I think the EU gets a rate of 1.4%
- GNP is NOT the total GNP of the nations. Rather, it's a proportion of the nations' GNP that gets paid to the EU. Again, weaselly explanations, but I think the proportion is 1.27%
- "Correction of budgetary imbalances" is the "discount" the Brits get, thanks to Maggie beating the crap out of the EU in the 80s. Needless to say, the EU has been eying this greedily ever since.

eu revenues

This shows payments to member states. I think he's trying to be accurate, but there's definitely TMI.

This shows balances: payments in less payments back.

EU balances

The author goes on to "correct" these, but he uses some accounting tricks reminiscent of the .COM era, such as discounting certain revenues and looking for the most favorable years. So I've ignored these for the moment.

Update 2 I've now checked his logic for recasting the numbers. He argues that the TOR component of the payments to the EU should be ignored "because they never were the Member States' money in the first place". Which is nonsense since if there were no EU, the members would spend this money on something else.

What the above shows is that the losers in the EU, starting with the worst off are:

1. Germany has the worst deal, which is presumably why Germans never got asked to vote on small matters such as dropping the Mark for the Euro, or the constitution. And hence why Schroder is headed South.

2. Next come the Brits.

3. Then the Italians and the Dutch. Which may explain why some Italians are talking about dropping the Euro. And of course the Dutch referendum result.

4. Next the French (who were beneficiaries until the late 1990s & for whom this must have been a rude awakening).

5. Then Sweden, which is small, so this is a big deal.

6. Denmark & Austria are a wash.

The winners are, taking it from the top:

1. Spain, by a country mile.

2. Greece.

3. Portugal.

4. Belgium and Ireland (but remember these are small countries, so this is a lot to them).

5. Luxembourg.

6. Finland is a small positive.

He has a per capita table at the bottom of his page, but only after his possibly dubious adjustments. This shows Greece, Spain, Ireland & Portugal as the big winners & all other nations as losers.

Update 3 If Blair gives up the 5 billion euro Brit "Correction", then the UK deficit with the EU would rise to 9 billion euros, making it by far the biggest loser.

Of course, if you ran this exercise for the US, you'd find similar imbalances between States. The difference is that the US has been a Union for 230 years (albeit with a Civil War along the way), and has a strong integrationist consensus. Europe is a disparate bunch of modified monarchies which have been fighting like wildcats for centuries and have nothing like a consensus.