Open Europe Blog

We’ve consistently questioned the logic of sending taxpayers’ money from Paris to Berlin via Brussels in the form of the EU’s regional (or structural) funds. It seemingly makes little sense for taxpayers in economically comparable countries to subsidise each other’s regional policies, only minus the Brussels admin fee.

And it turns out that the search for a logical explanation was all in vain, as, according to German MEP Markus Pieper, the use of EU-channelled money to co-finance projects in relatively wealthy member states is completely justified because it contributes towards making the EU more visible to citizens.

“In countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands, Europe shows its face through local projects in the regions,” he said.

This is the kind of argument you might expect to hear from the Commission or an MEP from one of the net recipient countries, but coming from a member of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party, which is making some pretty loud noises about fiscal prudence at the moment, makes it quite odd.

And it’s not like the Commission doesn’t already have a sizeable pot of money to spend on EU PR.

Author :