Bargaining over the trillion-euro, 7-year budget for the 27-member European Union (EU) continues in Brussels. This represents about 1% of the union’s gross domestic product (GDP). The largest item is a mountain of agricultural subsidies to support the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. The budget process is slow and painful because each member state wields a veto, and each wants to declare victory in the end.
José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, claims the budget is no longer a butter mountain of farm subsidies but a “catalyst for growth”.
To which one sceptical diplomat replies: “Only if you’re a cow.”
Joshua Chaffin, “EU budget: the trillion-euro split“, Financial Times, 21 November 2012.