There is a select group of masochists out there (us included) who devote their time to studying the inner workings of the EU budget. Its a very dry and technical process but at the end of the day the numbers matter – the UK’s gross annual contribution (post rebate) this year is around €14.7bn, which easily exceeds the £7bn in fresh tax cuts David Cameron pledged at the Tory party conference yesterday.
Today, Commission President Barroso urged member states to sign off on a €4.7bn ‘top up’ to this year’s budget, an issue we covered back in June. What struck us however was some of the language in a separate Q&A put out by the Commission, which contains gems like:
“The EU budget consists of commitment appropriations and payment appropriations. Broadly speaking, commitments are usually higher than payment appropriations and do not constitute “real money”; they could be compared to the amount mentioned in a contract any household or private company commits itself to pay at the completion of any given work. Payments, on the other hand, are “real money”; they are what the EU budget has to pay, again, just like any household or private company has to pay the builders once any contracted work is completed.”