The EU Budget after Lisbon: Rigidity and Reduced Spending?

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This article examines the changes of the Lisbon Treaty to the rules on agreeing the EU’s annual budget and multiannual financial framework. The comparative budgets literature as well as theories of agenda-setting, veto players and empowerment of the European Parliament inform the analysis of how the EU’s budgetary powers changed and the likely outcomes on spending. Overall, the powers of the European Parliament are reduced, the budget becomes more inflexible and, most significantly, the rules of the Lisbon Treaty have the effect of reducing the amounts available to spend. Although the Lisbon Treaty grants the European Parliament greater influence over ordinary EU legislation, national governments seem to have used the same treaty to send the Parliament’s budgetary powers in the opposite direction and to curtail EU expenditure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-369
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number3
Early online date10 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • agenda-setting
  • EU budget
  • Lisbon Treaty
  • reversion points
  • spending reductions
  • veto power

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