How does the European Union spend its money?

The European Union is an odd spender: unlike national states, it doesn't have to pay for most normal functions of government - like social security, defense or pensions. Its €925bn budget for the 2007-2013 period is therefore mostly dedicated to structural investments, subsidies and research.

Many groups have tried to track how the various funds are spent across projects and beneficiaries. The following page aims to provide an overview for those unfamiliar with the EU's funds, policies and often strange language.

Information about the stability mechanisms EFSF and ESM has been collected on the site of the Netherlands Court of Audit. If you would like to contribute disaggregared data or further knowledge, please get in touch.

The EU's financial planning happens on two levels: through a seven year plan (called the Multiannual Financial Framework) and through a budget, which is decided each year.

Overview of EU funds (click to enlarge)

Farm and Fish Subsidies ~€420bn

The system of agricultural subsidies (often called the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP) are by far the largest section of the spending. EU Transparency operates and with great background information on these funds.