The system used for financing the European Union's budget has not been significantly reformed since 1988. Recently proposed changes to how the EU collects revenue, which will ensure a level playing field between Member States, are generally a step in the right direction, but there is room for improvement. That is the main conclusion of the European Court of Auditors, whose Opinion on a proposed revision of the EU's revenue-collection procedures has been issued today.
There are three main sources of revenue for the European Union's budget: traditional own resources (TOR), an own resource based on Member States' gross national income (GNI), and another based on value-added tax (VAT). In 2021, the system of EU financing was reformed with some changes to two of these revenue sources (TOR and VAT-based contribution). A new own resource based on non-recycled plastic packaging waste was also introduced. The key piece of legislation behind the EU's revenue collection is the Making Available Regulation (MAR), for which the European Commission proposed some amendments. The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has welcomed some of these changes, but points out areas where the legislative proposal has some drawbacks.
"Some of the proposed modifications to the EU's revenue streams make a lot of sense," said Marek Opioła, the ECA member responsible for the Opinion. "Those on how the EU's own resources are made available to the EU will provide greater predictability for Member States and help reduce the administrative burden for the European Commission. But other proposals are not as promising. For example, the proposed procedures for dispute resolution are different in part from the rules set out in other existing regulations, which may add complexity to the system of own resources and affect legal certainty”.