The lecture on “EU Policy and the Danube Region” by Dr. Filipa Figueira this morning gave us a very good insight of the political situation of the European Union nowadays. As British citizens (at least in my case), although we are a part of the EU, most of us don’t have a clear idea of how it functions and the structure which governs it. Also, there has been a popular debate of having a referendum on whether U.K. should leave the European Union in 2017, that’s why a deeper understanding of the EU is vital for us.
EU’s regional policy initially helped those recently-joined countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal with funding to maintain their economy. As time went by, these funds are given to all regions and areas, including the Danube region – EUSDR (EU Strategy for the Danube Region). Its incentive is to improve those countries’ political policies and to collaborate with each other. An average 1 billion euro is given to the Danube region, with different portion depending the role and the nature of the countries. Through this strategy, countries along the river will have the ability to promote their cultures and to boost their tourisms. Apart from the Danube region, we learned that the EU spent around half their budge on agriculture, which ironically represents only 1% of the European countries’ GDP. This practice does not reflect what the current economic situation, where more money is needed in order to improve unemployment and other problems due to the financial crisis. Thus, there are countries like Greece and the U.K. considering pulling out from the EU, yet the impacts of such action will have serious impacts on Europe as a whole, both economically and politically. It is certain that there should be changes and improvements on some EU policies, however, quitting the EU will not be a wise option, in my opinion.