100 EUR per person / year

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“The statistics from the previous article show that the majority of European citizens are uninterested and/or uninformed about the EU. With populist parties on the rise, it is dangerous that many do not know what the EU does.

There is a quick fix to this problem - let's check how the EU budget is spent:

• 1/3 of the money goes to famers (famous CAP),
• 1/3 sustains various projects such as the single market, diplomacy, banking union etc.
• 1/3 finances Cohesion policy (solidarity with less privileged regions).

The 1/3 which goes to famers does not really make the famers happy with the EU, at least not the milk producers from France. The 1/3 spent on “various items” is often too diluted to permit a real impact, or at least a visible one. For example, cutting roaming fees is a legal power that makes a difference, but it benefits max 1/3 of all Europeans. Last but not least: Cohesion policy. Cohesion policy accounts for more or less 50 billion euro per year. This is 100 EUR per European per year. What can you do with 100 EUR, feed a family of 4 for a week? Take a low cost flight ticket, pay a week of a student rent or a night in a hotel… ?

The EU re-distributes this sum to the ones in need. It is a basic principle of solidarity. It builds bridges, motorways or fast Internet broadband connections; it renovates schools or castles. Whether you are a hipster in Copenhagen, or a working class mother in Greece, you must have benefitted from Cohesion policy somehow. You must have visited a touristic area partially renovated by the EU, or drove on a road financed by the EU money.

The only difference is that the hipster from Copenhagen pays a bit more than he receives compared to the Greek mother. No one ever explained why people living in Paris should contribute to 5% of the GDP of Bukovina.

In fact, it is rather simple. From Copenhagen to Milano, it is a rich and attractive centre; the ‘periphery’ around it is poorer. To redress this imbalance and avoid having every second graduate student from Poland move to Copenhagen in search of a better life, Cohesion policy has been created.

This is the reason why communicating on this decentralized project is so crucial for Europe.

This is the reason why studying the impact of this policy on European identity is so important.

This is the reason why COHESIFY exists.

Gauthier Bas
Old-Continent - Visual Communication Agency

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