Study requested by the European Parliament's BUDG Committee.
When assessing the benefits Member States (MS) receive from the European Union (EU) budget, they primarily focus on their
individual net positions, i.e. the net balance between their national contributions and the transfers received from the EU
budget. This "just retour" thinking is associated with several limitations and problems and completely neglects the benefits
accruing to MS beyond the pure financial streams related to the EU budget. MS may enjoy the indirect benefits that are related
to the various interventions and policies financed from the EU budget. Benefits may be also created for the EU as a whole
in the case of policies coordinated and financed by the EU, replacing or complementing individual un-coordinated action at
MS level and thus creating additional added value through making use of synergies. MS also benefit from intra-EU direct investments,
intra-EU trade and the EU’s network effects. Therefore, the net position view could be complemented by additional indicators
providing a more comprehensive picture of the overall benefits resulting for MS from the EU membership and budget and several
reform options within the EU budget could help to overcome the net position view.