In this article I argue that the EU budget is (slowly) moving from a budget based on the rationale that richer EU countries help poorer EU countries in exchange for their engagement to the process of economic integration, and because economic development of the EU has positive economic returns for them, to a concept of solidarity based on a different rationale; that all member states and the Union are confronted with the same challenges and risks. In order to support this argument I analyse the development of the different budget headings as well as the increasing flexibility within the budgetary system.

Leaving aside the discussion as to whether this change is considered to be positive or negative, a reform of the own resources system and a stronger involvement of the European Parliament in the negotiation of the Multi Financial Framework would be essential to foster the trend. These reforms, together with an increase in the financial resources available, are necessary if the EU budget is to be reconciled with a solidarity role it should and has to play, in addition to giving the EU the means to properly address current and future challenges.

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