It was indeed high time to put an end to the soap opera of budget dispute in the European Union. Tony Blair managed to secure a deal on the 2007 – 2013 budget for the Union.
Perhaps these soap operas are unavoidable. It’s many different interests coming from 25 member states that have to come together in a unanimous decision. It’s distinctly good that there isn’t yearly major budget decisions, but instead a multi-year process that then clears the table for a considerable time.
I haven’t as of yet had time to look at the details of the budget deal. It’s expenditure on the level of 1,043% of the anticipated GDP of the Union. Minute if you compare it with the level of – often much too high – public spending in the member states.
But most important was that candidate status was given to Macedonia. The French lifted their veto.
Macedonia is to be congratulated!
Further steps – as you can see in the text of the conclusions – will be taken in the light of a more general debate in the Union on the future of enlargement. Not necessarily wrong, but very important how that debate is prepared and conducted.
But for the time being we can only note that the European Union has left one drama behind and has kept the perspective of further enlargement open.
Good work, Tony Blair. And Angela Merkel.