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Briefing for the European Parliament: The benefits of EU membership are not measured by net operating balances

Fabian Zuleeg , Marta Pilati

Date: 19/02/2020

This briefing was requested by the European Parliament's BUDG committee and was first published here.

National operating budgetary balances (OBBs) do not take into account all of the economic and non-monetary benefits that Member States gain from EU membership. In many policy areas with cross-border characteristics and demand for critical mass, common action at the EU level may lead to better results than fragmented national initiatives. Several studies show that the Single Market has increased employment and growth. The effect of the Single Market deepening since 1990 has been quantified by 3.6 million new jobs. Additionally, EU GDP would be 8.7% lower if there had been no Single Market integration. The average EU citizen gains €840 more per year thanks to the Single Market. While all EU citizens benefit from income gains thanks to the Single Market, these effects are higher for Western Europeans in absolute terms. Relative to GDP, gains and losses are more similar..

Photo credits:
Riccardo Pareggiani / POOL / AFP

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