The European budget after COVID-19. Challenges, Prospects and Opportunities

14 July 2020

During the European Council this week all eyes are, again, on the negotiations for the future European Union (EU) budget. Analysts tended to focus mainly on two things. First, the evolution of the sums of money that will be agreed on for the future European Recovery Plan & next Multi-Annual Financial Framework. Second, the opposition of the so-called “Frugal four” and their desire for adopting a scaled down budget and attaching more conditions to EU money before being disbursed to hard-hit countries, such as Italy and Spain. However, other aspects are neglected and would require more in-depth discussion. European, national and sub-national authorities are facing other challenges in spending and implementing the more than 2 billion EUR recovery package. This article argues that issues of strategic vision (e.g. intertwining the Next Generation EU with the MFF logic of EU funds), absorption and administrative capacity need prioritising in order to manage the post-covid aid process. Not dealing with these aspects more thoroughly will affect what could be done for a medium- and long-term recovery plan. The blog ends with several brief recommendations for policy-makers, stakeholders and citizens.   

Cristian Surubaru

Neculai-Cristian Surubaru is a postdoctoral researcher at Studio Europa within the Maastricht Working on Europe (MWOE) programme of Maastricht University. He works on the academic Theme 1:  Democracy, Politics, Security and Rule of Law. 

His research focuses on European politics, democracy and the relationship between old and new member states, looking at East-West tensions and how they affect EU integration.  

As a political scientist, he has worked on theoretical issues regarding administrative/state capacity & politicisation, empirically assesing these concepts in relation to the management and implementation of EU funds in Central and Eastern Europe. His articles have been published in journals such as Journal of Common Market Studies, Regional Studies, European Politics and Society, East European Politics and the Romanian Journal of European Affairs. His research on the EU's performance in Central and Eastern European countries (with Prof Dimitris Papadimitriou and Dr Dorina Baltag) has been published by Routledge (2018).    

Cristian is also affiliated as an Associate Researcher with the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) of the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow where he has worked on policy evaluations and research for the European institutions and national governments. Moreover, Cristian is an Affiliated Expert (ex member of the board) of Europuls - Centre of European Expertise, an active Romanian think-tank based in Brussels, where he was one of the initiators of the annual European forum - Eurosfat

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