Should more money be taken from the rich to give to the poor? However we dress it up, this is arguably the most fundamental issue in any democratic system. It’s even more relevant today as global inequality continues to rise. Yet, as the collapse of the Venezuelan economy illustrates, it’s not exactly straightforward.

Things become even more complex when transfers of wealth are taking place across borders, where a sense of national solidarity is not at play. Public hostility to foreign aid budgets is one manifestation of this. Another is frustration in wealthier countries at sending money to the EU so that some of it can be invested in infrastructure and other projects in poorer EU regions.

EU cohesion policy is not just about rich countries paying for poor countries. Within wealthy EU countries, there are also poorer regions (just as within poorer countries there are wealthier regions). Via its cohesion policy, the EU invests in poorer regions to reduce differences in wealth not just between EU Member States, but also between regions within EU Member States. It is the EU’s largest instrument of investment, with 351.8 billion euros set aside for cohesion in 2014-2020 (one-third of the EU budget). The biggest recipients tend to be regions in Southern or Eastern Europe, including regions in Poland, Italy, and Spain.

Curious to know more about EU cohesion funds? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

What do our readers think? Well, we had a comment from Goran, who is frustrated that richer EU countries keep trying to cut cohesion funding to poor EU Member States. But is it fair that richer EU countries (and regions) have to pay for the development of poorer European countries (and regions) via cohesion funds?

To get a response, we spoke to Kevin Morgan, Professor of Governance and Development at the University of Cardiff. What would he say?

I would say the answer, in short, is yes. Strong countries and regions should contribute to the improvement of weaker ones, and there are two reasons for that: The first is what I would call ‘enlightened self-interest’, and the second is the ethical duties we have for social justice.

In terms of enlightened self-interest: Germany, for example, gets an incredibly good deal out of the Eurozone in terms of its currency, and in terms of creating markets for its high-value goods in Southern and Eastern Europe. Germany’s contributions to cohesion policy are the very least it can give in return. So, strong countries and regions get a lot out of it. It’s enlightened self-interest for them to help weaker countries.

The second reason is social justice. We have an ethical duty for wealthier people and places to help those who are less fortunate than themselves. So, there are two answers to Goran’s question: Enlightened self-interest says ‘Yes’, social justice says ‘Yes’.

To get another perspective, we also took Goran’s comment to Andrzej Porawski, Executive Director of the Association of Polish Cities, an organisation representing local governments in Poland. What would he say?

I would try to explain to him that it is fair for the following reasons. That money, which is paid by richer EU countries for the development of poorer EU countries and regions, does not only work in the interests of those poorer countries. It also works in the interests of those countries that pay… That money results in economic development in poorer countries, enhancing economic contacts with richer countries, enhancing cooperation between companies in poorer and richer countries. So, the ultimate effect of this investment benefits not only the country which is being supported, but the entire European economy as a whole.

Next up, we had a comment from Sabo who reminds us that the purpose of EU cohesion policy is to help make weaker EU Member States more competitive and bring up their level of wealth, alleviating economic differences across the European Union. Has it actually been successful in pursuing that objective?

I would say that, on the whole, the evidence suggests that cohesion policy has made a positive contribution to help us manage the positive contribution between the enormous divides between West and East, North and South. I wish the evidence was much clearer and sharper, but I believe that cohesion policy is the right way to go, and we can build on it.

For a cohesion policy really to be effective and sustainable, it needs to based on two principles, and I’d like to see these both strengthened. Number one is solidarity, where stronger countries and regions help weaker ones… The second principle is subsidiarity, whereby we devolve power to the lower levels so that policies can be based on the local knowledge of localities and regions, but those localities and regions need to be accountable for those resources, and answerable for their performance. So, the short answer is yes, cohesion policy has made a positive difference, but it needs to do so much more post-2020, and it needs to strengthen these two principles of solidarity plus subsidiarity.

What would Andrzej Porawski say? Certainly, some countries have grown their economies at an impressive rate since joining the European Union (such as Poland). Others, however, have grown more slowly. There are still big differences between the wealthiest and poorest EU Member States. So how effective has the EU cohesion policy been in practice?

Well, the effectiveness of EU cohesion policy depends also on individual decisions made by those who receive resources for development… The European Union sets out the criteria for using cohesion funding, but the implementation decisions are made by the people of the beneficiary countries. So, different countries take different approaches, and some are more effective than others. Also, there are different circumstances, social and economic, and decisions which were effective on one country might be less effective in another country… But, overall, I would say that EU cohesion policy has been effective in helping to develop the poorest regions and countries in Europe.

Finally, we had a comment from Graziano, who thought that EU cohesion funds should be withdrawn if a country is clearly in breach of European rules or values. Is it right to make such funding conditional on following debt and deficit rules, or on adhering to European values on democracy and civil rights?

I think when we make rules, we should by-and-large try to respect them. If we think of the history of EU rules, some of the first breakers of those rules have been the powerful countries of Germany, France, and Italy, for example, even though poor old Greece is often held as the only culprit. So, we need to respect rules, but we also need to understand circumstances where they may need to be relaxed in certain cases. Like austerity, for example, we may need to relax the rules on Southern Europe, and Greece in particular…

I’ve always argued that it’s a shared responsibility between the region, the Member State, and the European Union. They all need to play role, because no poor region can possibly solve its own problems unilaterally at the regional level. But if they get money – let’s say the regions of Italy in the Mezzogiorno, for example. Where they get money from Rome and Brussels, those regional elites must be made accountable for the performance of that aid. And, in the past, they’ve been allowed to get away with poor performance and therefore their governance needs to be strengthened to ensure transparency and efficient use of public money.

Is it fair that rich countries pay for the development of poorer countries? And has EU cohesion policy been effective? Should cohesion funds be cut if a country breaks EU rules or values? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Thomas Galvez
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403 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Diaconu George Razvan

    i think EU should be more focused on eradicating corruption in eastern Europe , basically the handbrake of the development in this part of EU!

    • avatar
      Costel Stanciu

      …corruption is everywhere, even in germany, france, italy, spain, england…why ? because italians, germans and others don’t shout out loud in international media that they too have their share of corrupded guv officials ;)

    • avatar
      Costel Stanciu


    • avatar
      Tony Muñiz

      LOL you mean corruption within the EU.

    • avatar
      Matt Czapliński

      As a polish I have to agree. In general were handling it more well than other eastern European countries, still the really tiny part of our society called government is the main issue to fight with that. Nepotism and corruption in governments is a big problem.

    • avatar

      Have any idea about the degree of corruption in Western Europe?

    • avatar
      Soso Mocu

      I don’t know when this discussion about cohesion funds has turned into a discussion about corruption.
      There’s particularly one guy here, very interesting for the rest of us, that promotes the corrupt socialist anti-Europe ( maybe they long for Comintern ) view that nothing should be done about corruption because there’s corruption in any country! Way to go stupid!

  2. avatar
    Christofer Sjöholm

    They only do that so they can make more money on new markets.

    Making people safe, free and less fearing has nothing to do with it.

  3. avatar
    Georgi Karov

    dev the lagged back ( due to conquest and oppression by russia ) is not only fair and necessary but also a VERY profitable investment for the dev countries …

  4. avatar
    Matej Žganec

    Just like foreign aid to 3rd world countries – its counterproductive.
    You want to help eastern Europe? Deal with corruption. But then again, those politicians are in the same parties in the EU parliament so why turn on friends and allies when you can just throw EU citizens money into a broken filter :)

  5. avatar
    Mario Kurzio Scortichini

    is it fair that poor EU countries have to deal with illegal migrants when they are already struggling with corruption, Mafia and poverty? is it fair rich EU countries remember that southern EU countries exist ONLY when they go there for summer vacations without paying ANYTHING?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Mario Kurzio Scortichini
      I believe that rich EU countries should help poor EU countries BUT the poorer EU countries must acknowledge receipt of charity with grace and endeavour to execute a ‘culture transplant’ to usurp ‘Systemic, Endemic, Epidemic and Pandemic’ levels of corruption so often a ‘feature’ of some poor ‘Club Med’ countries.

  6. avatar
    Róbert Bogdán

    Not at all. It’s immoral and counterproductive. Poorer EU countries will close the gap eventually, without any help. All it is needed is same opportunities and free market capitalism. Offering free money is always a bad idea, even if it helps on the short run and brings loyalty.

    • avatar
      Ntinos Gotzis

      the help is provided for widening the gap.

  7. avatar
    Dimitar Peev

    Poor EU countries pay to rich EU countries via their banking system, so it’s unfair anyway.

  8. avatar
    Tobias Stricker

    The question is simply wrong! The question is: will transfers stabilize the EU or not? And the answer is destabilization, because it will lead to “separatism” in the payer countries.

    • avatar
      Paulo Cunha

      No it won’t, the buyers are also in the “poorer” countries. But it will give more power and influence to wealthier countries above the others.

    • avatar
      Tobias Stricker

      Paulo Cunha How you get this idea? Look at all separatist movements in the world. The reason is most time that the rich region is fed up to transfer all their wealth to other region. Look Italy, look Catalonia, … This is even happening inside national states. Now think about the much loser union of the EU.

  9. avatar
    Erik Jakub Citterberg

    Is fair for you to help your neighbour? What kind of dumb question is this?
    The development funds have been many times inscentive to fight with corruption and improve rule of law in these countries. That was, lowkey , the point.

    Also the mechanism is far more effective for developinf of rural areas and infrastructure, since it has strict rules, than if those countries built infrastructure themselves.

    And lets be honest, many countries joined with conditions detrimental to their own local industries and this is one way how to compensate them. If you maybe stop protectionism inside “single” market instead, well I am sure that would work too :).

  10. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    EU want harder trade rules we are heading for a trade war no one will win The World must celebrat the withdrawal of one billion people from poverty by the forces of globalization who will promote free trade

  11. avatar
    Oli Lau

    No. There is nothing fair in stealing money from somebody and give it to someone else. it is thievery and that is what taxes are all about. It might be necessary, but there is nothing fair in that.

    Fair would be that each individual would freely send the money he/she wants to the NGO of his/her choice.

    • avatar
      Uli Czeranka

      the eu guarantees the rich state economic opportunities much more than the poor. Its not stealing. It is designed to help improving both sides conditions. Of course you can argue that its theft but it wont bring economy forward. Quite contrary.

    • avatar
      Alex Sekkpfb

      Besides, with the improvement of infrastructure and overall economic situations of these countries, the “rich” countries can benefit from better local markets for their own local production. Transfers to poorer regions, if done correctly, lead to the creation of added value (not only in monetary terms but in terms of social and scientific improvement as well) for the Union as a whole. Taxes are necessary to a system that works with a safety net (more commonly called a welfare state) – pretty much the one we as Europeans are lucky enough to have.

    • avatar
      Oli Lau

      you are arguing about the efficiency of the help. the question is on the moral ground. is it fair? Stealing when you are hungry and poor is also an efficient way for not being hungry.But is it fair? No.

      What is your fair share of somebody else earning?

      Africa has been bombarded with help, South Korea didn’t. They were more or less at the same level in the fifties. Which one is thriving?

      What is necessary for a good economy is the rule of law and liberty. Respecting the right of individuals to do what they want with what they earned. A tax is the opposite of it.

    • avatar
      Bradford Playford

      Don’t confuse radical libertarianism with fairness.

    • avatar
      Oli Lau

      And don’t confuse your comment with an argumentation.

    • avatar
      Paulo Cunha

      Oli Lau “South Korea didn’t”, it got all the help the US umbrella could provide (IMF, OECD, access to financial markets, foreign investment, etc.)…You could say North Korea didn’t got any help, that would be the truth.

  12. avatar
    Antonio Brugarolas

    Is it fair then to have progressive tax schemes at national level? They also redistribute wealth across a given collective (National level); why not doing the same in the European dimension?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Antonio Brugarolas
      Corruption in the ‘Club Med’ countries and the EU must be sorted first!

  13. avatar
    Sebastiano Schavoir

    Redistribution of wealth and investments is what a government often does. It should be rational however,and it should serve growth, ideally in the long run.

  14. avatar
    Pier Dal Ri

    It is not rich countries and poor countries, the difference is beiing virtuous or not in governing a country, don’t forget governments are broke, not citizens, so governments have to become aware on how to manage expenses keeping them into a possible range, only then you could cut the debts, otherwise it would be only temporary, until new debts will get the government broke again. In the case of Greece I would not forgive debts to a goverment who is hiring now thousands of useless public servants and still putting middle aged people into retirement: they try to get Greece even more broke.

  15. avatar
    Paul X

    How abour rewording the question..

    Is it fair that taxpayers money is being spent in foreign countries instead of being used to improve the social conditions in their home country?

    • avatar

      Very short sighted, very populist! The answer is yes I want my part of my tax money (i imagine less than a pound a month!) to be spent in poorer countries. That’s actually one way of reducinf migration among other things. Generally if these countries improve we all benefit.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      LoL @ the usual populist accusation

      The question is about “richer” EU countries subsidising “poorer” EU countries…in reality, on a relative worldwide scale, there are no poor EU countries, certainly not when compared to some African and Asian states

      Payment to countries that actually require aid it is not under dispute, you will find the UK is the second highest payer of overseas aid in the world. Now it matters not if people agree with where this aid goes or not, it is a decision made by the UK government who are directly accountable to the UK taxpayers

      Until recently, I have never been able to exercise a democratic right to express my dissatisfaction with the way the EU wastes my taxes on vanity projects (airports with no planes, roads to nowhere.. essentially anything they can place a self congratulatory blue starred sticker on)…. but fortunately, the UK referendum has changed that

  16. avatar
    Paul Vincent

    Its the wrong question.
    If you want ever closer union and a federated state, the full fiscal union is a must with all that entails.
    As in all federal systems…USA..Germany…United Kingdon…there are significant transfers to subsidise poorer regions.
    If you’re not willing to countenance that.. then in its current state, the eu will continue its assymetrical growth with all the tensions on social cohesion and migrancy forces that entails.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Paul Vincent
      FYI, the UK is a UNITARY state and not a FEDERAL state.

  17. avatar
    Chris Pavlides

    Rich maintain their wealth and prosperity by exploiting weak. Tangible example is the Greek crisis. With so many strategic assets and energy reserves the 10th EU member had to become absolutely controlled. Multi speed Europe its the concept of FAILURE. This can not be washed up with some cash to unfortunate citizens. Please aim to develop fast ALL countries by advance their competitive advantages and make SYNTHESIS. Do not follow the past age American example of north and south. Thanks.

  18. avatar

    it is temporarily fair if:
    * not based on the “watering can principle”
    * no waste
    * outcome is strictly evaluated, I doubt it is at the moment
    * no corruption : corruption in Southern and Eastern Europe is endemic not just “cases” -> EU understaffed regarding corruption control
    *no one way street

    • avatar
      Jose Quintans

      I agree with you Dieter, but for the sake of giving you something to think about, I give you an example of specific kind of corruption in Med countries:
      EU funding for upgrading some industry is transferred to and then distributed by the national administrative entity. A company is awarded with funding to upgrade processes, the boss buys 10 €10K German PLCs at Andorra or Liechtenstein or any tax heaven for €15K each, and thus €50K go to his banking account.
      The EU fund might be €50K.

      It is kind of subside for German PLC makers, as it is for that Med country company. And also notice how the corruption runs across borders.

      That businessman shall be punished, but beware of the standard narrative on corruption. There are many complex cases.

    • avatar
      Jose Quintans

      It is not just understaffed, the OLAF office has no competence over most EU funds once the are transferred to and managed by national level administrations.

      And believe all southern and eastern Europeans want those opportunities to be well managed for our sake and the sake of Europe.

      Kind regards.

  19. avatar
    Γεώργιος Μίχας

    The dilemma does not exist…. Does anybody believe that rich and strong countries have given even one euro to the poor ones if they have not already taken two (or more…) euros from them? The main collecting mechanism is the “financial system”, or “markets”, or “BANKSTERS”, who possess the power all over the world.

    • avatar
      Andrew Kieran

      Back to their own countries is it?

    • avatar
      Graham Hinkin

      Andrew Kieran not sure what your answer is to. The post is about rich and poor EU countries.

  20. avatar
    Bradford Playford

    Is it fair that public assets in the smaller countries are sold off to private concerns from the wealthy countries at fire sale prices? Is it fair that all the benefits of this financing goes only to the corrupted elites while it is the average people in these poor countries that are expected to suffer for years while these unsustainable “debts” are paid?

    • avatar
      Paulo Cunha

      “the benefits of this financing goes only to the corrupted elites”, that is a problem that the populations of the “poorer” countries can address themselves (by vote) but the majority don’t want to do as they also get some returns…And don´t forget about who owns tha majority of the media and as an easy access to public officers (in the government, parliaments, etc.).

    • avatar
      Bradford Playford

      Yes, because neoliberal institutional power hasn’t figured out how to get the results it needs from the “vote.”

    • avatar

      The selling of public assets is a choice made by countries themselves. So is the price they want to ask for it. That has nothing to do with the rich EU countries. The same goes for the accumukation of debt, that is a sovereign choice for a member state. Nobody forced the poorer EU countries to borrow money, in fact EU rules put some limits on how much a country can go into debt. But countries like Greece or italy chose to take advantage of the lower interest rates they got from piggy-backing off the rich EU countries’ credit ratings. They spend above their means for years and held off on needed reforms and racked up unsustainable debt in the process. That is not the fault of rich EU countriesm blame the politicians in those countries for taking the easy route and lying to their populations about the consequences.
      And the distribution of wealth is again something you should adress nationally. Countries can decide for themselves how much they want to redistribute the wealth in their society, primarily by way of taxation. If you want to institute a 90% wealth tax to eradicate poverty you can do that, no EU country is stopping you.

    • avatar

      Huh? How does trading with a country translate into a moral obligation to send them a part of your tax income? If a rich country sells something to a poor country then yes, money goes from that poor country to that rich country. But in exchange goods go from the rich country to the poor country. And those goods are cheaper for the buyer then they would have been if they bought those goods domestically, otherwise they wouldn’t have an incentive to buy it in the first place. There is nothing exploitative or wrong about that, both the buyer and seller simply act in their own self-interest. So why would it create a moral obligation towards the poor country?

  21. avatar
    Paulo Especial

    If the common goal of the EU is promoting peace through security and prosperity in Europe, than Yes the richer countries must help out the poorer ones, but also corruption and waste must be fought so that the effort of those who provide those funds isn’t wasted or apparently wasted.

    • avatar
      Jose Quintans

      Think again, it is going to be difficult for Europe to cope with China even ‘ensemble’, also Africa will become an ever greater threat for our interests.
      If we Europeans don’t lead none in the world will allow us to stand on our feet never again.

  22. avatar
    Laurie Davidson

    The rich states in the US carry the poor states, for sure. I don’t resent it at all, as I happen to live in a rich state. I do resent when the federal government offers money to the poor states that they decline on some kind of ideological principle and they only people hurt by that are the poor and those without health care.

  23. avatar
    Colin Jennings

    As always with socialism there are a number of aspects. 1. Are we talking of income, current earnings…or Wealth generated in the past ? 2. How to you spread the gain fairly and based on what metrics ? 3. On the assumption that the insane levels of borrwings are to continue, how do you distribute the cost, that, is ever changing ? 4. How do you control the costs, management and effectiveness over the long term ? And finally, all this is really a cost/benefit for those that are either very young or still to be born. Do we have the right to spend their money without being aware of their future and the challenges of their time ? It is my view that the EU while broadly beneficial, is grossly out of control and we should be looking for less involvement by central government not more. Handouts seldom work and have extreme and long lasting effects…but then, what the hell do I know.

  24. avatar

    EU support of poor countries is something I more than approve. However, EU regulations in place are a bit naive by allowing many loopholes to enable corruption and plain simple ineffective use of EU funds, As such, all EU countries should be forced to put in place air-tight control systems under penalty of not receiving any funds at all – let’s not abuse the generosity of rich countries.

  25. avatar
    Mike Newport

    The question is flawed, it’s not a matter of fairness, whatever that is. It’s self interest, the more “developed” a region becomes the more goods it will be consuming, making everybody wealthier

  26. avatar
    Katerina Mpakirtzi

    They borrow us and took them back in double . Bankers control all economy no the leaders.Nobody help no one. The tragedy of Africa shows the awful and terrible face and system of imperialists. Its shame for all of us. And of course the trafedy in Greece. Who gave those loans.. A trial to all of them is the only justice to the economic crimes -crises against people that suffer from sadism of the rich countries

  27. avatar
    Siva Nesan Jesu

    Intelligently the successful ones must guide and teach and the falling behind ones must learn; Is not it so? Participation means sharing everything. But not with alien cult which wants to destroy the West.

  28. avatar
    Michael Tirrell Jr

    This is why the EU does not function properly. Its not the United States where its one goverment and all are states. These are countries some richer than others. If the EU wants to act as if its the US than the richer countries in the EU cant complain about helping the more poor ones.

  29. avatar
    Ben De Luca

    Yes because poor countries can be rich countries and make new things for us and buy our things.

  30. avatar
    Miguel Bruni

    If you want to sell your rich product in poor countries… in fact it is not help it is LEND money… as a bank the rich are profiting the high spend of the poor by lending money on interest rates. HELPING is doing things for free. Come on, change title of article to LENDING MONEY

  31. avatar
    Joao Coelho

    depends on what the rich eu countries do. Do they exploit the poor countries? Do they take advantage of their poverty or do they use the development as a way to enrich themselves while not really developing anything, just building hotels for example. Are they making the poor economies dependent on this support like a drug dealer. What is not right is that countries receiving help use that help to enrich their own already wealthy classes or make only a few of the developing country rich while the rest suffer, such for example, making a city unaffordable for the local citizens who will not be able to afford to live in their own city.

  32. avatar
    Janine Dean

    THEY PAY NOTHING. how fucked up are you??You do have NO idea about how things work in the eu, do you?

  33. avatar
    Iphigeneia Kotsoni

    Are you kidding me? Here’s food for thought: Poor countries are poor because the rich suck the life out of them.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Actually, most poor countries are poor due to corruption and incompetence within their own ruling elite rather than from external influences

  34. avatar
    Domingos Correia

    As much as they condition and atrophy the development of these countries. Either there is union or there is not.

  35. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    One can argue for pay. One can argue for reparations. One can argue for fairness. One can argue for tansparency. One can argue for equal opportunity under the law. But this question is a bit pathetic.

  36. avatar
    Χρήστος Καράπαλης

    Τί γράφεις ρε κοθώνι,ρε αλήτη ,ρε υποκείμενο ότι οι πλούσιοι πληρώνουν τους φτωχούς ηλίθιε, η γερμανοληστοσυμμορία που κανονικά έπρεπε να είναι αλβανία άν πλήρωνε τα εγκλήματα του β.π.π λεηλατεί με προδότες πολιτικάντηδες που κακό ψόφο νάχουν τις αφελείς χώρες του νότου ποιυ βλακωδώς θέλουν να έχουν παρτίδες μαζί σας κατσαπλιάδες,απατεώνες,τοκογλυφικές ύαινες..

  37. avatar
    Nikos Vlachos

    Is it fair that powerful industrial countries such as Germany freely compete with countries such as Greece, to the point of de-industrializing them? This process of de-industrialization commenced in the decade of the 1980’s. Prior to entering the EEC, Greece was experiencing its first industrial revolution (starting in the post-war period). But, then, “fairness” is an ideological paradigm imposed on the “weak”.

  38. avatar
    Yavor Hadzhiev

    It is and it isn’t fair, depending on the perspective one takes. But the more important question is not about fairness but about necessity. For the good of the EU as a whole, including the rich countries in it, it seems necessary to help poorer countries develop. At from one point of view that is fair: that companies from rich countries also use the resources, workers and infrastructure of the poor ones.

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  40. avatar
    Jose Luiz Costa Sousa

    This question is a lie, the bigest EU lie ; it is simply monstruous… the richest countries within EU are not helping and not lending money to the poorest countries… that is propaganda…what such countries, the richest ones are doing is extorting money from all of them, to bankrupt, to make of the poorest countries their financial slaves forever… you all, the ones, shall be ashamed either of your hipocrisy, or stupidity ou innocence… look at what EU made of Greece, Portugal, Chipre, etc… look and be ashamed… the richest ones what they didi it was to find out the potiticians from poorest countries 1st are not very inteligent, 2nd are corrupts…. and they manipulated this weakness of those countries … and for years they were giving them money like this…. “YOU BUY FROM GERMANY SUB MARINES AND EU WILL GIVE YOU AN HELP OF 20 % OF THE COSTS FOR FREE AND YOU JUST PAY THE REST… ” YOU MAKE ROADS, RAILROADS, ETC… YOUR COUNTRY WILL GET 30 % EU ASSISTANCE… AND OUR BANKS WILL LEND YOU THE REST…”…. etc, etc, etc,… the politicians said yes, got thier percentages in the business and now in Portugal we have an excess of highways we don´t need at all and cost a fortune to maintain… and submarines useless for us… etc, etc,… and now the people of Portugal owe HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF EUROS TO GERMAN, FRENCH, ETC BANKS THAT WE CANNOT PAY…. NEVER… and now in Greece and Portugal EU blackmail them everyday… if you want more money, Greece and Portugal have to make reforms and sell Germany, etc… everything… islands, airports, roads, public buildings, all the Geek business , etc… even the Portuguese sea and Greek sea is not any more ours,,, it is EU sea as well as all the resouces in or under it…, please just stop with such talk,, we are not inteligent as a people but many of us we know very well what is going on… we are just EU slaves living the bigest misery from ever… that is it., whatever you migth imagine like this bullshit of richest countries helping poor countries…. just look at the economic situation of those poor countries before EU and now…. you would be amazed with what EU made of all of us… in my country, Portugal, EU destroyd the agriculture, fisheries, industry, everything… everything…. initially giving us money to help… do you know what kinf of help .. to burn our fish boats… 90% of them were burned.. EU paid for it… our fisheres destroied… and now we buy fish from Spain,.. EU paid us to destroy our wineyards… our olives trees…. money not to work at all the land… etc, etc, etc… BULLSHIT TALK… HIPOCRISY..

    • avatar
      Dennis Silverton

      Very interested to read your comments, Jose. I am a Brit living in Spain and am amazed at the infrastructure “improvements” that have been carried out with the “help” of the EU. Hundreds of miles of virtually empty motorways, airports built but never used, schools and hospitals of a much higher quality than we can afford in the U.K. All this in a country with enormous unemployment! I think you make some very good points.

    • avatar
      Jose Quintans

      So you wanted to be fishermen and peasants forever?
      It is true that EU paid to dismantle low efficient industries in Portugal and Spain, with the aim of concentrating the activities and making them more efficient, it always happens like that, in a free market capitalism like the US’s it would be driven by private enterprises, while here it is driven by politicians.

      Anyway, good amount of funding came to pay for it, although it fell in the hands of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, tightly intertwined with businessmen, and thus we lost many big opportunities.

      There is much more to say, but I just wanted to add something for you to balance your view.


  41. avatar
    Steve Podmore

    why is it so much different from the wealthier areas or the cities within a country supporting the less well off or the rural areas?

    • avatar
      Erika Belair

      Is it fair that Greece asks the EU to lend them money …and they can not give it back ? Does Germany need to borrow money ?? Why not ??If Greece can stand on its own then why come and beg and then accuse thhose who lend?? Germany is only part of the EU founding members .However it has a well functioning economy .Why?

    • avatar
      Marios Tsamandouras

      Why is all a scheme of german plutocracy who btw all descendents of nazi who destroyed europe AND especially greece. My family suffered from nazis many tortured and many killed without repair. German plutocracy is fed from our blood and gold.

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      Erika Belair la Grecia, come un pò tutti è stata ingannata con il sogno degli Stati Uniti d’Europa. Ora sappiamo che non è possibile ed ha il diritto di non volere prestiti , debiti, riforme e ricatti. La Germania non è solo un membro fondatore della UE ma è l’ideatrice (insieme alla Francia e agli USA ) . L’inganno se ci sta è stato creato da quei Paesi . Se un ladro viene scoperto non è detto che debba rubare a vita ed essere lasciato impunito

  42. avatar
    Alex Pazaitis

    A very interesting discussion indeed. My contribution would be to point out one aspect of regional development that economists seem to forget: intra-EU trade (as much as global trade) is a zero-sum game; some must suffer deficits in order for some to enjoy a surplus. And that is even more relevant taking into account the strong interdependencies of rich countries in intra-EU trade for their export position. So, quite bluntly, in many cases the money invested in poor countries, simply return to the rich ones through trade. For instance, if a Greek hospital is to get EU funds to invest on medical equipment, that would most probably be purchased from Germany. So, in a similar sense to the “enlightened self-interest”, rich countries need a strong EU economy to retain their export position. What is currently missing from the cohesion policy, is systemic approaches and the type of mission-oriented investments that would allow poor countries to develop their own industrial sector, which would inevitably mean some form of export substitution. Otherwise we may always end up with financing the poor countries’ debt with rich countries’ surplus, which is a vicious circle. In this direction we may see why the Smart Specialisation strategies might fail, as they don’t account for the inequalities among EU regions, which may end up with some regions “specialising” in indebting themselves whilst consuming EU funds.
    At the same time, we should not forget that rich countries did not become rich because “richness” just so happened to flourish in those regions. There are deeper historical and systemic dynamics that led to that outcome, which are not at all irrelevant with other countries ending up poor, while there have been many occasions that rich countries had to get institutional assistance to not loose their position (and I’m glad Prof. Morgan already mentioned this). To put it in the way Prof. Reinert eloquently puts it, there are clear reasons that “rich countries got rich and why poor countries remain poor” (see:

  43. avatar
    Panagiotopoulos George

    in order for the wealth countries to exist, poor countries must exist…what we need is a minimum quality of life, and yes there is a problem when one owns 30 trillions dollars , and other people die from a matter of ethics and respect…is the face of our civilization…we dont say that everyone should be paid the same, but a minimum quality standard should exist…just like sweden

  44. avatar
    João Pedro Santos

    That’s like asking “Is it fair that aliens are invading the Earth?”. Spoiler alert: it isn’t happening.

  45. avatar
    Sergio Miranda

    The question is: Is it fair that the rich EU countries pay for the lives of rich people of poorer EU countries? Cause that’s what’s happening right now…

  46. avatar
    Tristan Meadows

    It makes perfect economic sense to have equally prosperous countries in the EU. This is the very essence of the Union. Inequality breeds hatred, contempt and a breakdown of the rule of law leading to hate and war. The EU is obliged to assist countries to develop. t must also clamp down on abuses and corruption so as to ensure they any funds are used as they should.
    With healthy economies trade and employment there is prosperity for all.

    • avatar
      Erika Belair

      Parents should educate children to make their own money and not always come needing help.That is what the EU is trying to do .Germany just happens to have a well functioning economy.Find out why

    • avatar
      Christine Pereira-Lopes

      Think we know that – the Euro was set up in favour of Germany using the Deutschmark! The balance of payments reflects that with a ready market for high end products produced in Germany.

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      e questa è andata in onda il 16-05-2017 . Da ridere ma è la pura verità dunque la Germania lo sapeva nel 1998 e lo sa adesso, l’ha sempe saputo e lo sappiamo anche noi ….e ci siamo stancati . Se un Paese ha successo perchè la sua classe dirigente è delinquente….. non è un buon esempio e va fermato

  47. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    Is not fair because then the poor countries don’t make any effort to improve, on the contrary, they live on given money.

    • avatar
      Ciulea Victor

      What about the people coming from the poorer countries to work in the richer countries?

    • avatar
      Enric Mestres Girbal

      You say it…they come to WORK, not to idle around as they do in their country of origin.

  48. avatar
    Manolis Karras

    There are no more “rich countries nor Democracies” for that matter. There are corporations that run the govt and the govts of other countries. There are
    elite clubs

  49. avatar
    Manolis Karras

    “elite clubs” where they “place ” their own in command. Commissions are given to get jobs done, in other countries these are called bribes and in other countries they are tax deductable. Your question is very far outdated and ridiculous.

  50. avatar
    Peter Akito

    no the question should’ve been: Is it fair that the EU is playing dump when corrupted politicians steal public money,turning them into villas and taking orders from other interests?

  51. avatar
    Yordan Vasilev

    The rich countries robber the poor ones by the trader, the banks and varies contracts, becuase of that it is fair the rich countries to return a part of stolen. And more of that, it is a Union and the rich ones are agree it to exist.

  52. avatar
    Samuel Rus

    Yeah but was this question asked when rich German, French, British,etc corporations were given free reign over the exploitation of the dirt cheap natural and human resources of Eastern Europe?

  53. avatar
    Stanciu George Razvan

    reaaaaaly ? what are you smoking over there …. ” rich european countries ” have only 1 thing … they issue fiat currency , they have a blank check to print money … that’s it … no big secret there … for a fraction of those money ,from the “poor european countries ” , they get this : qualified and cheap labor force , natural raw resources , huge discounts when they open offices and factories in the so called poor countries , and they get to TAX the poor countries just for free passage to their utopia of these workers and people that basically give back a lot … pretty much they get to call themselves ” rich countries ” on the back of the ” poor countries ” …. rich ? can you spell “FIAT CURRENCY” ?

    • avatar
      Andrew Rout

      The numbers says the opposite, check the EU budget how much each country is paying and how much is getting…

    • avatar
      Stefan Ritscher

      It is always worth to trace a little were the wealth originates from. The riches of the one are the poverty of the others

    • avatar
      Sorin Poamă

      Yes, but also check a rigged economy that works for the top 1% abd how austerity was supported by the poor

  54. avatar
    Kalin Hristov

    Fair? When has anything ever been fair? Life is unfair. Corporations buy out and close down competition.Unfair? Who cares if its profitable! The EU works on the same principle – New markets to sell products….but hey, don’ even think about selling your sh!t to us! That’s not how it works – WE sell to YOU, you DON”T sell to us!!!….Should the rich help the poor?…..You should ask” Why would they?” – its not profitable….Giving them loans might be…oh, wait, that’s been done…Well then, let’s have “A two speed Europe” – we don’ t need those peasants anymore – we took everything of value from them already…besides who cars about them when there is so much money to be “utilized” with these “refugees”!…Here’s an idea – lets take all the doctors and scientists and engineers that arrive as refugees and settle them. The rest, the “useless” crowd we’ll send tho those “poor” member states – we got to use them for something…

  55. avatar
    Costi Ciudin

    Somehow it is! It is a historical reparation for those shady 1945 agreements that sent a for of countries into Stalin’s hands – those are the nowadays poor EU countries and their poverty is a direct consequence of those agreements which traded the fate of some countries for the freedom and prosperity of another

  56. avatar

    Merkel’s imposed doctrine “share the burden” is not reciprocal, “share the prosperity” in reality doesn’t apply.

  57. avatar
    Stefania Portici

    bisogna capire come funziona l’economia di uno Stato, la moneta e la politica . Questa domanda è sciocca , è stupida . Non ci sono Paesi che si sono arricchiti nella UE , Tutti economicamente si sono impoveriti, chi più chi meno , chi si è indebitato e chi ( ancora ) no perchè aveva un alto risparmio prima della UE e dell’euro .Ogni volta che si chiede un prestito ( visto che lo Stato non può stampare la moneta ) la UE prima li drena ai Paesi, poi li dà ma solo se si attuano le riforme. Le riforme……nessuno di noi le ha chieste , nessuno di noi le ha votate, nessuno di noi le vuole e la cosa più grave è che sono ANTI -COSTITUZIONALI .

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Do you have any evidence of that?……last figures I could find indicate that the EU spends about 6.5bn in Romania whilst the Romanian contribution to the budget is only 1.3bn Euros….. and based on that, I agree, it doesnt sound fair

  58. avatar
    Mihai Stefan

    when ritch countries steal theresourc3es of the por countries…they have interest that they remain por and undeveloped

  59. avatar
    Rui Mauricio

    Só com uma condição. Os recursos concedidos serem administrados inteiramente por quem os disponibiliza sem qualquer intervenção dos titulares políticos dos países receptores sempre mal preparados, incompetentes, oportunistas e pouco dignos para não ser mais objectivo.

  60. avatar
    Stefania Portici

    oh ” I maggiori beneficiari tendono ad essere regioni nel sud o dell’Est Europa, comprese le regioni in Polonia, Italia e Spagna.” correggete l’errore perchè è un errore grave. L’Italia non ha beneficiato di niente e non vogliamo beneficiare in futuro dai criminali ladroni . Vogliamo semplicemente chiudere questa terribile esperienza della UE . FINE, USCIRE, ANDARCENE , ANDATEVENE , CHIUDERE. Come facciamo a farvelo capire ? Ve l’ho detto in tutti i modi

    • avatar
      Enrico Pollini

      Mah, uscire si può, basta rispettare certe clausoline, non proprio aggratis. Ma al di la’ di questo: sicura sicura che convenga?

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      Enrico Pollini noi nella UE abbiamo solo pagato in denaro e con la vita . Dovrebbero risarcirci del grande danno che abbiamo subito dai Trattati ingannevoli e dal resto. La UE è come un cancro, meglio tagliare l’arto malato , se lo lasci stare muore tutto il corpo. La UE è un cancro che non porta beneficio nè adesso nè in futuro, nè a noi nè agli altri. Una cosa nata con la truffa non può diventare onesta. Conviene, si moralmente ed economicamente

  61. avatar
    Kuroš Taheri-Golværzi

    hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

  62. avatar
    Adrian Dan

    is it fair that rules in EU turn poor countries into consumers? Is it fair you force deficits ? Is it fair you force multiculturalism ? Is it fair you force marxist bullshit and rules made by technocrats?

  63. avatar
    Cosmin Ion

    Well…, this question I can answer with another question: IT IS FAIR THAT EAST EUROPE TO HAVE THE STATUS OF A MARKET, WHERE WEST EUROPE SELL her PRODUCTS ? ;)

    • avatar
      Miguel Oliveira

      We used to have this question between Northern-Central Europe and Southern Europe, with Southern Europe losing all industry to buy their products from Germany etc

    • avatar
      Cosmin Ion

      Miguel Oliveira And you do not have this question anymore? Which is the unemployment rate in Spain ? 21% in general Which is the unemployment rate in Germany ? 4, 5% in general Which is the unemployment rate in Spain for younger people? 41,5% Which is the unemployment rate in Germany for younger people ? 6,6%

    • avatar
      Cosmin Ion

      Miguel Oliveira do you want the example for Portugal ! :)

  64. avatar
    Miguel Oliveira

    The question is really whether the EU is ready to move to a federal union of states or not. If the move is to the first case, then of course they need to do their best with the poorer parts because if they do better, it’s always a win-win situation

  65. avatar
    Gheorghe Catalin Vizitiu

    But the rich EU contries become rich due to the fact that they abandon the Eastern Europe countries to comunism in Yalta!! How was that, fair???

  66. avatar
    Sara Wolowa

    Yes, it is. First a loose of welfare in one region means a loose of welfare for the whole union. Second it is clear that we are stronger toghether, but the union (and euro) is a matter of consensus (thus leaving the EU is a very hard choice). So ‘helping the poor’ builds consensus and social cohesion; it is interest of rich regions.

  67. avatar
    Oz Zeren

    If its ok for them to use those poor countries as cheap labor sources and export markets inside the union, yes.

  68. avatar
    Blanka Kasza

    Is it far to employ Eastern Europeans as cheap labour in Western Europe? Nope….and we are taxed too, some times two ways. Either we unite or we don’t. Call the question.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Blanka Kasza
      Is it fair that Eastern Europeans work in the UK and compress the wages of the UK workforce – especially the poorer UK citizens.

  69. avatar
    Carmen Rodikaa

    Does California pay for a revival of the Coal Belt? I guess not. But the unified federal budget does. Same should apply here

    • avatar
      Francisco Fernandes

      Because capitalism is now global and the countries with the biggest capital get to exploit the others.

    • avatar
      Diaconu George Razvan

      because at the end of WWII the west said “f*** em ” and we stayed half a century beyond the iron courtain under bolsevic rule!!! … many other reasons…

  70. avatar
    Filipe Oliveira

    Is it fair for rich countries to make a single market with poor countries, exporting their enhanced products thus destroying all possibilities of upper scale corporational development?

  71. avatar
    João Camacho

    Richer? Why are they “rich”? because they sell arms, have bigger wages and prices. Rich o tanas, fucken lumpen.

  72. avatar
    Radu Oleniuc

    Get rid of bureaucratic socialists and the things will sort themselves out. Private individuals will build private highways, at 1/10 of the price. They will take care of the poor in a much better way than any moron living in Brussels and having only his “special interests” in mind.

    To give just one example, some private highways between Poland – Romania, where the corruption is staggering and the death toll is 20X higher/mile, will help millions take care of themselves. Wanna help the poor? Take care of your own corruption first.

  73. avatar
    Pete Griffiths

    Yes it should but it must first insist that public officials rather than the public are the beneficiaries. Where I live, Calabria, Italy, the regions president gets paid more than the US President and in nearby Sicily, nearly double. Their pensions are enormous and nor justified. Fix that first, it will be the same elsewhere, and then we can start talking about social cohesion as almost 50% of our young people are out of work and have no trust in those who lead them.

    • avatar
      Daniela Nicolescu

      GOD! this a pattern we “imported” here in Romania. We can’t produce as much as the politicians can steal legally!!l! with a 5,6 rate of growth, we have the smallest salaries in EU and big prices! this is the reason Italy is invaded by Romanians-they just had to survive! in the last 27 years they emigrated more than in war times, more than the Syrians!

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      Daniela Nicolescu e Pete G. ( nome non italiano ) è una menzogna ripetuta in tutti i Paesi del mondo per farci accettare il neoliberismo. Oh suvvia

  74. avatar
    Χρήστος Φωτιάδης

    This “analysis” is a naked provocation! The so called “rich” countries are not “paying for the development of the poor”. They only keep them alive, to be able to sell them their “advanced” fucking products! No wonder that there are so many naive people believing all this crap!

  75. avatar
    Χρήστος Φωτιάδης

    This “analysis” is a naked provocation! The so called “rich” countries are not “paying for the development of the poor”. They only keep them alive, to be able to sell them their “advanced” fucking products! No wonder that there are so many naive people believing all this crap!

  76. avatar
    Χρήστος Φωτιάδης

    This “analysis” is a naked provocation! The so called “rich” countries are not “paying for the development of the poor”. They only keep them alive, to be able to sell them their “advanced” fucking products! No wonder that there are so many naive people believing all this crap!

  77. avatar
    Χρήστος Φωτιάδης

    This “analysis” is a naked provocation! The so called “rich” countries are not “paying for the development of the poor”. They only keep them alive, to be able to sell them their “advanced” fucking products! No wonder that there are so many naive people believing all this crap!

  78. avatar
    Χρήστος Φωτιάδης

    This “analysis” is a naked provocation! The so called “rich” countries are not “paying for the development of the poor”. They only keep them alive, to be able to sell them their “advanced” fucking products! No wonder that there are so many naive people believing all this crap!

  79. avatar
    Joe Grixti

    Yes it is Fair. Thats. How it should be. For keeping the United States of Europe.

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      gli Stati Uniti D’Europa dovrebbero funzionare cosi ma ci vorrebbe una Germania europea , io non voglio una Europa tedesca

  80. avatar
    Nagy Zoltan

    Until EU was JUST an economical union, with trade argreements, yeah, it’s ok, it’s business. They get new markets and cheap labour in return. BUT since recently EU pushing political agenda on smaller countries, EU is not only outdated but dangerous (the mandatory migrants are just the tip of the iceberg). We do not want to become Germany’s new Land, thank you. Eu is not a federation, and if it is pushing to become one no thanks. I think the britts got the right idea, dismemberment is in order. Better suffer now than long term in the future. For the regular Joe, passport-free travel is the ONLY benefit of being EU member.

    • avatar
      Vincent Lia

      Are you a forecaster of the future? Let me tell you, you have no idea of what is going on now, let alone in the future. How is the EU ‘pushing political agenda on smaller countries’? The EU is not just Germany, whatever goes on is with the consent of other countries. If you are in a union of any sort you need rules and they have to be followed or else the other countries may suffer because of the folly of another country.

    • avatar
      Nagy Zoltan

      Vincent Lia Well than explain the non-economicall regulations, and the newest bullshit of importing middle-eastern “workforce” AND trying to force every country to accept it. Does this have anything to do with economy? No, at least not on positive side. Is it a sign of power struggle.. I would say Yes.

    • avatar
      Attila Szabo

      The big advantage of the EU are jobs. Romania is growing in a great rate because of this free market, Serbia for example is suffering due to this. The 2 countries were more or less the same at the beginning of the millennia, now you can’t compare them. Easy border crossing is just a comfort thing. I do agree with the rest, the EU sadly seems to become a liberal shithole. Just the fact that good leaders like Orban are marginalized while other countries elect leaders deeply influenced by banks is a sign that the direction is not ok.

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      Vincent Lia con il consenso degli altri Paesi? Come quando la Grecia ha fatto il referendum e gli hanno chiuso il rubinetto ? Oppure quando hanno fatto dimettere Berlusconi ? Se non ci piace questa Unione Europea è proprio perchè puzza di marcio putrefatto

  81. avatar
    Hugo Brazão

    I do not agree for one simple reason. If you do not prosecute corruption, no matter how much money you inject to help poorer Countries, nothing will change.

    • avatar
      Vincent Lia

      The EU is doing a lot to enforce anti corruption rules. Did you watch the Maltese PM getting a grilling? But then the EU cannot interfere with the sovereignty of another country because you get someone like you criticizing that it is a dictatorship. What are you doing against corruption?

    • avatar
      Anda Iulia

      Sadly corruption is being fed at a large scale also by the big corporations, which originate surprise surprise in the not-so-poor EU Member States. Reasons abound but they mainly belong to the same big family: GREED.

  82. avatar
    Hugo Brazão

    If corruption is not actively prossecuted, nothing will change.

  83. avatar
    Hugo Brazão

    When you allow a poor Country to sell it’s critical infrastructures such as electric supply, telecomunications, transportation, water supply to be sold, how do you expect something to change?

  84. avatar
    Dan Horea

    as long as the rich grab resources from the poor, it is a normal, even compulsory, attitude

  85. avatar

    If the EU continues its policies to dismantle poorer countries production capacity in favor of “richer” countries disguising it as “production quota”, then yes.

    You can’t pay countries to not to produce and then expect them to have profitable economies.

  86. avatar
    catherine benning


    If the EU politicians decided to accept poorer countries into the continental club, without first asking the EU tax payer, who would be funding this charity, for their permission, Then surely it has to be those politicians who collectively fund them out of their own pockets? The politicians who signed up for this must be held to account. Demand they pay all of their earnings into a charity foundation for poorer EU countries and see it is distributed fairly, in order to see the growth and profit they expected from this policy of theirs.

    Why do they think EU citizens should be funding their gambling addiction? Especially when they kept the addiction to themselves, prior to allowing those they expected to foot the bill for it, know they didn’t have the money to cover their losses should it not perform for them.

  87. avatar

    If you are looking to become a unified state, yes, it is. Pre-existing members would have admitted the newer members and would have known at the time that they will be paying.

  88. avatar

    Germany should be kicked out of the EU.

  89. avatar
    Mimi Voiculescu

    the rich take enoug from the poor from their natural resources , thi is the real reson for the union.

  90. avatar
    Marian Rodu

    ^ oh please not that old chest nut again. The reason for the union is peace and prosperity. The real reason that natural resources get exploited too much by some foreign companies (NOT THE UNION) is because our fellow citizens are shallow, shortsighted and greedy.It us who allow them and and who work for them. They don’t put guns to our heads. So those issue have nothing to do with the EU, but with us. Our countrymen for the most part just complain and expect somebody else to do something about problems.

  91. avatar

    Definitely the rich western countries should help the Eastern countries and please give money to Serbia also

  92. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    Too simple & deceiving!

    The EU’s cohesion policy is like a mare’s nest boasting 1/3 of the EU’s total budget! But, what’s really behind such illusion? Is it pure charity, a political cum economic masterstroke or control & capture of new EU internal markets for the rich & advanced? The principle of comparative advantages apply.

    This is the EU’s largest instrument of financial control over its Members- while preparing its future- parading as distributor & the “generous giver”. The cost is: Hand over of all national competences & total loss of ones country sovereignty.

    Economic cooperation & fair trade under one “hat & hut” could also have been achieved without enticing & bullying all into a concept of political, social & “Multi Financial Framework” (MFF) straight jacket- called EU.

  93. avatar
    Tihomir Nikolov

    This is a great question to debate on! Personally, I have several arguments for both points, but I’m more leaning towards the “Yes, it is, but also if there is strict control on the funding of a particular country and region”. Coming from a poorer Eastern Europe Balkan country myself I see many benefits such as passport-free travel inside and the Euro as the currency that defines the country standart. Slovakia, for example, in my opinion is a very strong country in terms of well-being and has very good conditions for living unlike the poorer ones obviously, but a key factor is also the fact that they work with the Euro unlike most of their neighbours. We desparately need to be united more towards a stronger EU that is helping so many businesses all around the continent!!! But also, the governments and politicians of the regions in which the EU Cohesion fond is being spread should be held accountable for the development or lack thereof in front of the entire EU!!

  94. avatar

    Well the idea is that poorer then buy from the richer so increasing wealth. The network becomes more connected and Stable. Pressures are applied to align values, sanctions for rule breaking?

  95. avatar
    Doina Arhire

    Who made this difference ?! Why ?!
    Every EU country pays and get payed !!!!
    EU should be a family…helping each other…
    I think it’s a challenge …
    Rich doesn’t pay for free…😁
    The market law !!!!!
    Playing a “game” …. It must be fair play !!!!!
    Help the Blue Planet to survive !!!!!!💞

  96. avatar

    Better question would be: is it fair some new member states would like just to have the subsidies and advantages of being within the Union but not willing to share the common burdens. Especially when certain menber states do not want to uphold the decisions of EU courts and Commision.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Maybe it is just because the decisions are idiotic and some countries don’t like being blackmailed?

  97. avatar
    António Soares

    The question itself is being made with the arrogant tone of assumption that the wealth of richer countries is not dependent on those of poorer regions of Europe. A of these poorer countries loose quite a hefty chunk of their tax revenue to tax shelter countries like Netherlands or Brussels, and have many of their corruption problems exacerbated by the dealings of the big multinational corporations of the top dogs in the EU, namely the Franco-German block. Don’t forget that all the crazy free credit given to the poorer EU members was meant to subsidize consumption of high-end manufacturing goods from Germany, France, UK, and the bank bailouts of the southern region were just a way that German and French politicians found to basically have the southern EU states nationalize the the financial loses of the French and German banks, so that their own people would not ask for their heads.

  98. avatar
    Pasat Lili

    If we are thinking at the EU as a whole body, countries being parts of this body, it’s obvious that this body can function only if all its parts are in good condition; so, health, infrastructure, education, democracy, etc., are important for EU as a whole. EU should be aware of the bleeding countries which are loosing their health specialists, or the work force, trying to make some policies in this field. It will not be OK for EU if some of the countries will have health problems (epidemics!!!), or social problems.

    • avatar
      Mick Wijnen

      The problem is lack of empathy. People within a nation state generally feel more empathy for other nationals while this is often lacking within Europe. As long as there is no coherent European narrative and identity people will resist transnational wealth-transfer. That’s the problem with the neo-liberal market approach to the E.U. It’s to abstract and lacks a human component.

    • avatar
      Max Berre

      I’d say that there is also institutional unity lacking. And that can be addressed in a concrete way in the coming years. I’m actually pretty optimistic about that

    • avatar
      Mick Wijnen

      I agree on that. However I’m not sure I’m optimistic about that. It depends on what will be the dominant ideology when this institutional unity will be cemented. I wouldn’t want a technocratic pro-corporate institution with less democracy and transparency. Which is the dominant idea at the moment.

    • avatar
      Max Berre

      Personally, I think that there’s a lot of room to be optimistic about that. The British are leaving, and the far-right has been politically embarrassed in three consecutive elections now. And these were the main political forces against the establishment of a more developed EU institutional architecture. Things like an EU economic crisis response mechanism (that actually works), monetary policy that makes sense for the most member nations, and standards about economic rule of law and corruption now have a serious chance of being implemented within our lifetimes.

    • avatar
      Mick Wijnen

      Yes but I’m as much against the populist right as I am against of neo-liberal pro-corporate politics that’s been dominant in the EU from the start. Privatization of public services, protection of corporate interests at the cost of public interest and corporate lobbying in general. And the whole idea that the EU should be only a market.

    • avatar
      Max Berre

      I don’t back the privatization of public services either, but to be fair, I’m not aware of any EU-level policy on this.

    • avatar
      Mick Wijnen

      No but this is the tendency in the leading member states and they will exercise their power through the European council.

  99. avatar
    Tonino Jankov

    Europe needs a good breakup.

    Cause it is showing a malign tendency to metastasize.

    Unless buerocratic despotism can be curbed, it needs to go to ruin.

  100. avatar
    Pedro Vidal

    The rich countries and poor countries what? we aren’t sleeping anymore!! you wake up!

  101. avatar
    Pedro Vidal

    The rich countries and poor countries what? we aren’t sleeping anymore!! you wake up!

  102. avatar
    Pedro Vidal

    The rich countries and poor countries what? we aren’t sleeping anymore!! you wake up!

  103. avatar

    financing the development of less developed areas is economically smart and profitable. for developed countries.
    1 – less pressure on local labor market and social protection system
    2 – more markets able to absorb the goods produced by local companies.

  104. avatar

    Is it fair for poor countries to function as spaces where rich countries companies can sell their produce for the same price as in their home country?

    The basic principles of EU are: free movement of trade, capital, people and services. I wonder how this applies to companies coming from poor European countries.

  105. avatar

    It is actually fair. It is just like a social welfare state, but when it comes to effectiveness… I believe that the problem between the member states are than there is not a common policy on ecerything, in finance and politics.

  106. avatar

    Even if they only do it for their own personal gains, the truth is that in any scenario wealthier states would benefit of a better economical situation in the poorer states, for several reasons. Firstly, they use cheap labour and mind force in those countries, and also their cheaper tax system, to save massive resources. So investing in a good education provides them with more capable people. Investing in infrastructure means better prices for their goods (and a lot of things that well-off countries buy like materials, gas, vegetables and fruit etc.) come from or through the poorer countries. Investing in their business means improving the economical state of the country, therefore making the people more capable to buy their produce and they would enlarge their market. And lastly, investing in the improvement of their political system (which includes fighting corruption, because yes, it is everywhere, but in certain countries the situation is much worse and there is data on this) would mean also making european functions easier, because implementing new laws would be easier if all the countries were more equally advanced. And yes, last, though I hope not least, it should come as a moral obligation, considering the gains they have. And discrimination based on economical background needs to be worked against, they should start investing in educational programs in all countries in the Union to know each other better.

  107. avatar
    Tobias Stricker

    If you want to foster Anti-Eu-Sentiments in northern Europe and so destroy the EU, yes you might find this the perfect idea.

  108. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    If one would take the idea of Mr. Daniël Termont- a Mayor of a city in Belgium (too) serious- that “the EU should work directly with cities, municipalities and mayors, and those who don’t have good results” implies that the “bureaucratic machinery of the EU’s super organs” are considered better suited & equipped to implement, direct & control (on “foreign supranational” soil) all former national, regional & even local municipal competences better than those institutions & officials (inhabitants) who are already democratically elected and in place locally? Overriding any sensible but democratic principles- to elevate the EU as something superior or from a different planet?

    Why should local taxpayer funds (money earmarked for development) take a merry go round trip via bloated EU organs & banks first, before coming back via banks to its members once more?

    Why not let an IDEA or PROPOSAL take a cheap “merry go round trip” instead? A private professional European infrastructure consultancy could surely achieve a similar thing better & quicker- unfortunately much cheaper than a bunch of politicians looking for the most expensive & complicated solution by pretending to be specialists. Aghh no!

  109. avatar
    Boudewijn Piscaer

    Good to support a poorer country, providing that you have the obligation to audit HOW the money is spend. EU money in Greece is often spend to support corrupt authorities and unfinished poorly executed projects without the population ( job creation and education) benefiting from them. It is not paternalistic to bypass those incompetent authorities when you want the people to benefit, not just the few.

  110. avatar
    Pablo Gándara

    Of course it is fair and worth investing: managing disparities and supporting smart specialization through cohesion policy is the base for the functioning of the European single market (still the second largest market of the world after the US). We have in Germany a similar system with 3 of 16 federal states contributing as net-payers (the system has been just amended for the phase after 2020).
    In the EU, 7 of 28 countries are net payers, but the positive effects for their economies make this a rationale and wise investment. Moreover, the EU cohesion policy invests not only in lagging regions, but also in those converging and in the strong ones.
    This investment is crucial to boost private capital – the enormous leverage effects of EU public investments have been widely demonstrated by several analysis.
    But also the institutional capacity building – required to manage the EU funds – is a major success of EU cohesion policy, since strong institutions are the key to sustainable economic development.

    • avatar
      EU Reform- Proactive

      Hi Pablo- “We have in Germany a similar system with 3 of 16 federal states contributing as net-payers”. The EU is not (yet) The Federal Republic of Germany!

      Pablo, this supports the notion that Germany introduces its federal system slowly but surely over the whole of the EU- referred by many as the (danger of) the “4th Reich”- for better or worse!

      In an EU context, it is not so much a matter of being fair or not, good or bad, but a question of how could it be done differently to avoid that possibility, retain & remain souvereign and not introduce German domination over the whole of Europe.

  111. avatar
    Arjen van der Burg

    IF regions are well governed and have a healthy social organisaties, EU funding to stimulate development is justified. But the sad history of some regions line Southern Italy illustrates that this is not a general rule. Those regions are better off with stimulation of emigration to riches parts of their country of Europa.

  112. avatar
    Raf Naegels

    ofc, rich countries probably benefit more from italy, greece, spain who supress the exchange rate of the unions currency, which is what their export markets thrive on. fair game.

  113. avatar
    Pedro Pais de Vasconcelos

    The EU is not a trade, it is a political/cultural/civilisational movement. The ones who think that the rich should not help the poor should simply leave, like the brexiteers. There is no room in the EU for egotism in th EU!

  114. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    No, charity beings & ends at home so put away your begging bowls as the free handouts of other peoples money is coming to an end.

    • avatar
      Miguel Hilário

      GTFO, your country doesn’t belong here.

    • avatar
      Ivan Burrows

      Miguel Hilário (Troll)

      We are leaving the pointless EU comrade, we are not leaving ‘Europe’, re-read the page title.

      But thanks for showing your hatred of free speech, its so very EU of you.

  115. avatar
    Nathan Charlish

    We have developed our own societies and economies of the back of those in developing countries. To give back is common sense.

  116. avatar
    Jovan Ivosevic

    Germany and other countries in its company’s supply chain get the benefit of the single biggest market. They also have an even bigger advantage because the Mediterranean economies depress the value of the euro compared to what a Deutsch Mark would be, giving them an even larger comparative advsntage in exports outside the eurozone.

    And now they they have basically made it impossible to conduct any meaningful fiscal policy post fiscal union (they took away monetary policy long ago with the ECB) they want to stop transferring any funds and keep consumption based economies even more depressed. How much crap do countries like Italy, Spain, Greece and even France need to eat from Berlin before you tell them to get lost?

  117. avatar
    Leonardo Monteiro

    A question to the (UKIPers) who answer no: The wealthy parts of the UK pay for the poor parts of the UK. Are you saying that London and Cambridge should stop giving money to Wales and the Midlands?

    • avatar
      Wendy Harris

      UK means United Kingdom and that includes all regions of our country. It does not include the rest of the world.

    • avatar
      Jakub Master-xotox Kovacs

      EU means European Union. EU is rest of the world no less than other parts of UK ;)

    • avatar
      Daryl French

      Well, actually, yes, I do say that.

      But otherwise your point is well made. If you support government mandated wealth transfer as a philosophical position, then why would/should your obligation stop at a national boundary?

    • avatar
      Ivan Burrows

      Leonardo Monteiro

      The EU is not and never will be a Nation State so you are comparing apples & pears.

  118. avatar
    Chris Pavlides

    There are no Rich & Poor. There are high capacity producers & consumers. This has to be balanced in order to develop a fully strengthen body towards global competition.

  119. avatar
    Wendy Harris

    What is a rich EU country? Take a walk into the poorer regions of any country and you will find homeless beggars and deprivation. Four million children in the UK are living in poverty. Being the fifth “richest country” in the world is meaningless when the riches go to the top 10%.
    Our country has become a milk cow feeding EU calves while our own go hungry. This has to stop.
    This communist ideal that some have should be measured against the failure of the USSR to improve the lives of workers. You give up your democracies at your peril. A country that is not free is a poor country.

  120. avatar
    Yannick Cornet

    Solidarity is a key European value. So the answer is a clear yes. The only condition for me being that receiving countries are not squandering the funding in corrupt governance systems and that they ensure all taxes within their borders are actually paid and well managed. Corruption, big and small, is the cancer of civilised society.

    • avatar
      Ivan Burrows


      The treatment of Greece & Italy over the EU migrant crisis proves solidarity is a myth used to fool people into thinking you are one people, clearly you are not.

  121. avatar
    Josh Mueller

    the US gave a massive amount of support to European countries after ww2, turns out having well off European countries as a market for the US companies was a very, very good thing

  122. avatar
    Lucy Prelevic-Popova

    Rich countries not only have a larger market, they profit from the cheap labour and also run buzinesses and concessions with big profit taken over from the East Europian states. They also profit from the braindrain whereas the Eastern countries are becoming weaker because of the latter phenomena

  123. avatar
    Francisco Afonso Pereira

    It’s not matter of “paying” for the development. Everyone will ultimately benefit for a stronger, more developed union. The rich countries wouldn’t be as rich as hey are if they weren’t part of this community.

  124. avatar
    Tiago Ferreira

    Yes. Depending if it is well managed. Otherwise it’s just another law helping governments to spend as they care. Normally it goes to the ones that already monopolyze economy making them the cancer of our society.

  125. avatar
    Paulo Especial

    If the common goal of the EU is to walk towards a single entity constituted by all it’s member states. Than the answer is YES!

  126. avatar
    Emmanouel Katsoulakis

    This is a joke! What development? 52% unemployment and 1200% suicide rate in Greece alone? 40% business closing down and an additional 25% moving to Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia? If Greece didn’t have the tourism industry there would be a civil war within the EU already, the refugees would be of Greek origin and there would be no scapegoat to blame the crumbling European monstrosity. The monopoly man is pretty accurate image though. Its the EU of the bankers, not the EU of the people. The money being spent in Greece right now goes to overestimated loans of European banks, the Greek government is paying only the interest, not the actual loan. Germany is actually making money out of the Greek crisis so never mind the bs that the mainstream media is talking about

  127. avatar
    Spiros Kontogiorgis

    Is it fair to give money to poor countries and to demand from them to make business contracts with your companies?!?

  128. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    Another bs question from the Soros-platform. As if they didn’t understand the economics of the EU.

    • avatar
      Bódis Kata

      The money flows around the EU and generates growth everywhere.

      If those poorer countries don’t manage things well, they actually end up losing more on the support than what they gain.

    • avatar
      Αλέξανδρος Γεροφώτης

      That is a different discussion…. You can travel a bit in North Europe and in the poorer countries and witness where growth was implemented or not…If EU gives money to a country for the building of a Stadium, it is their job to see that this is built through…And still it is not the riches people call to say where to spend their money…It is the government’s call…But it is typical of the richer countries to ignore EU government when that suits them, eg. refugees…

    • avatar
      Bódis Kata

      No. According to your example, the stadium will be 30% self-financed (they always are). When the builder is a German company who uses Austrian subcontractors and German machinery and materials, then the economic impact for the host country will be definitely negative.

      Study some economics.

    • avatar
      Αλέξανδρος Γεροφώτης

      Who said anything about German companies or Austrian subcontractors?Growth of host countries is not just the companies by the way…It is the countries themselves, the people, the infrastructure…I am sure that instead of a stadium, a hospital , a bridge,a metro is built that would make the example more easy for you to comprehend…Not everything is about economics….Study some humanitarian studies or engineering…By the way all these castles and palaces in Northen Europe? Mismanagement and unnecessary expenses paid for by wars over centuries…Bring them down so that we can take care of the refugees of the most recent wars…I say it ironically of course…But “mismanagement” is used to easily by some…

  129. avatar
    Kánai Mariann

    “Why not save even more – for example, the billions in E.U. structural funds that go to Poland and Hungary, since those two countries refuse to take in refugees?

    Budgetary policy shouldn’t be used to impose political penalties. The structural funds are for making weak regions more competitive. And a large part of every euro the E.U. gives Poland comes back to Germany. The Poles use the money to place orders with the German construction industry, to buy German machines and German trucks. So net contributors such as Germany should be interested in the structural funds. From an economic perspective,
    Germany isn’t a net contributor but a net recipient.”
    Oetiinger to Handelsblatt

  130. avatar
    Kánai Mariann

    The funds are not humnanitarian aids, they serve the competitiveness of the EU, which western companies profit most.

  131. avatar
    Stefania Portici

    James Monroe “Tutta l’America Latina è, e sempre sarà, il cortile di casa di Washington”. Il Venenzuela ha delle sanzioni commerciali USA . Dal 2003 il Venenzuela ha la sua moneta bolivar agganciata al dollaro , non è più sovrana la sua moneta . Fame, disperazione, povertà, guerre……..non se ne può più di tutto questo terrorismo . La moneta deve essere sovrana e deve essere calibrata al Paese che la emette , l’euro non è moneta sovrana e non calza per nessun Paese europeo ( troppo debole per la Germania , troppo forte per noi ) . Smantellate via questa sofferenza e ingiustizia sociale

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      USA e Francia hanno il “merito” di aver inventato l’euro per l’Europa . Stati uniti d’Euopa , unione federale o colonia ??? Io non voglio essere una colonia

  132. avatar
    Ocho Vidas

    The don’t. The emigrants pay for the development, working in rich EU countries.

  133. avatar
    Stephen J Gorog

    What are you talking about??? Give money?? Your not giving money, you are investing to gain short and long term profits Eu leaders know that very well, if they reduce or take away development money then they shoot their own leg!

  134. avatar
    Stephen J Gorog

    Rich countries don’t give anything for “gratis’, they never did, that’s what capitalism is all about. Eu leaders like to blindfold people, just to promote their own policy!!!!

  135. avatar
    Michail Panchev

    Nope. Everyone should be dealing with his own bussiness. However, the rich EU countries often tend to give themselves the right to impose regulations (sometimes forcedly) on the entire community,making it hard for the less developed states to prosper.

  136. avatar
    José Bessa da Silva

    No, as well it is not fair for poorer country to pay to keep them richer which is what is going on now. That is why we should leave. The EU only bring misery.

  137. avatar
    Vitor F Veiga

    Hapoens that richer countries like Germany or France they got richer because the ‘poorer’ EU countries opened their Markets, joined the EURO, raised cost of living, and sold out their agriculture and lost all their competitiveness in the process. So yes, there SHOULD be some solidarity in return!!!!

  138. avatar
    Maricela Potoc

    Yes, this is actually a fair compensation. Poorer countries like Romania invest a lot in educating people and then these educated people go abroad in wealthier EU countries as soon as they graduate to get a decent salary. By doing so, we are left without enough doctors, engineers and scientists which go and make other EU nations great while we stay poor. We didn’t impose a tax on people who got a paid education by our state or make them pay for their studies if they choose to leave without working a single day for the state that paid for their training, but I do believe that we should get some form of compensation since we became a supplier of highly educated individuals.

    • avatar
      Christos Boras

      Europe decided to form this union by decreasing wealth from the north and develop the south .

      You were the unlucky like us. Soviet union fell. So they don’t have to be nice anymore. Evennif Romania or Greece were of a great importance between Churchill and Stalin

  139. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    Exactly. The development funds from the EU are no free lunch, the economic connections are the “price”. You would understand this if you studied economics.

    The rest is just propaganda from this propaganda portal and political populism for stupid people.

  140. avatar
    Rick Wilmot

    Which are the ‘poorer’ EU countries, bearing in mind that the UK has many food banks?

    • avatar
      Christos Boras

      These providing £150.00 per month benefits to 75% disabled persons.

    • avatar
      Steve Pock

      Christos BorasBeen it’s a shithole, but where are you referring too and why?

  141. avatar
    Larry Moffett

    Is it fair that some of those poorer countries (the usual suspects) bite the hand that feeds them?

    • avatar
      Christos Boras

      Which are corrupted from the rich countries.

    • avatar
      Arjan van Eersel

      Christos Boras I was talking about the “poor” countries.

  142. avatar
    Valentin Nebunescu

    Yes.We will build an strong federation.The advantages of the single market will give EU the edge in competition with cheap Chinese goods.

    • avatar
      Christos Boras

      Federation is the only way of a European Europe.

  143. avatar
    Vladimir Ilić

    You came up with this idea when the union was created, and now after so many decades you’re posing this question.

  144. avatar
    Svetoslav Roussenov

    I wish they were actually paying for the development instead of giving euro funds to oligarchs that spend very little on what the money was actually meant for. Long live the EU, but please stop giving money to corrupted governments! Thanks!

  145. avatar
    Gjuro Kladaric

    of course it is… for, poorer countries are a drag, so by helping them richer countries also help themselves…

  146. avatar
    Andy Alderson

    It’s wealth distribution to ease the transition towards a federal state.
    Of course, to is that’s paying, it’s foreign aid.

  147. avatar
    Pirvulescu Florin

    Structural funds are the price developed countries pay so that underdeveloped countries open their borders.

    The flood of western goods often destroys local business but those structural funds allow developing countries to more aggressively develop their infrastructure, requalify it`s workforce and better local business prepare them to compete with western companies.

    To be more sincere, it`s a helping hand given by the developing countries to the developed countries who are already “sated” and couldn`t find markets to sell their goods.

    By opening their market, developing countries gave western companies huge new markets thus allowing them to grow.

    Developing countries got a rather mixed bag, a some of their companies were shut causing unemployment to rise thus pushing those countries to spend more on social programmes.

    I`m not completely sure that those EU funds actually make up for all the cost of allowing western EU companies to operate freely

  148. avatar
    Lynne Warner

    If your ideal is becoming communist, then it’s working well. Soon we will all be earning capped salaries and the great benefit of a cubicle and a ceiling we can’t break through

    • avatar
      Val Anderson

      and that’s the ideal of the EU, becoming communist

  149. avatar
    Stefan Florin

    Yes…they don’t invest money for free.They ‘give’ 1 euro but receives 3 euros back from poor european countries.Don’t forget the colonial past, eastern european countries haven’t been colonial powers.

  150. avatar
    Svetlin Føx

    Yes. Supermarkets in central/eastern eu are floded with producs from west. In places like Slovenia, you can even hardly find anything local. Same with cars, fuels,banks… basically all. Central/East EU is simply a client of the west… soo if the west wants more purchasing power for their stuff, than Yes, more money should move eastwards.

    • avatar
      Svetlin Føx

      José Bessa da Silva better to leave what? Dont you understand that without central/east EU, the west goes bankrupt, as noone will be buying their exports?

    • avatar
      José Bessa da Silva

      Svetlin Føx , better to leave the EU. Ir has brough nothing more than misery to my country, so, forgive me if I don’t see any benefit of a union with “central” (god knows who are those) and “eastern” europeans.

  151. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    Of course it isn’t fair but without free hand outs of other peoples money there is little point in the poor countries being in the EU.

    Fortunately we are leaving so the gravy train is coming to an end & we will stop wasting our money on the corrupt EU . :)

    • avatar
      Dimitris Orfanoudis

      Ι αgree with you yes supporting cummunism by any mean ..You know Brussels how they supported and support the Greek PM who he is a cummunist ..

  152. avatar
    Vicky Moutsatsou

    No it’s not. They should let some poorer countries exploit all their natural sources for themselves and become europes superpower how about that !

  153. avatar
    César Gonçalves

    considering that some of the EU rules and regulations harm the poorer nations to benefit the rich ones… it is more than fair. Also to evolve to a more federate-like union it is just a way to keep the whole European Union more cohesive (Even though that’ll never happen).

  154. avatar
    Mafalda De Andrade Vasconcelos

    This question is biased since first of all one must define poorer. Many countries deemed poor were, like Vitor F Veiga says empoverished in order to ensure the fat countries remained fat. So I don’t even think the question has a purpose. For me it is not a matter of solidarity but about balancing the act. If you ask for sacrifice than you best be ready to pay the price.

  155. avatar
    Christos L. Krasidis

    Even the way the question was stated shows a lot. How about “is it fair for poorer EU countries to get exploited by the rich EU countries, in return for this ‘so-called’ development”?

  156. avatar
    Tobias Stricker

    It is simply the wrong question! It has nothing to do with moral categories. The question is: does it long term work for both sides? And the historical experience is clear: it will never work long term. Even national states break up if one region has to transfer its wealth to other regions. Look all separatist movements. Lega Nord, Catalonia, … There the people are fed up that their wealth is transferred to other regions. The second point is that it creates moral hazard. The receiving regions will always just lay back and their only effort is to get more transfers. We can see this even in Germany. In the begin the most states paid in the pot, now there are only 3 left, out of 16. The third point is what is really done with that money? Investments? An investment would mean that you later generate more income out of it. I haven’t seen any real investment in recent years, especially not in the weak regions. Almost 100% is channeled in some corrupt pockets or is wasted in projects everybody knows will never generate anything and are nothing else than “Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahmen” (programs to create jobs for some short time as long as the project exists). What do we learn is that direct transfers never work. What we have to think about is a kind of transfer system that everyone profits from. Example an EU Army. Around 20% of national budget is spent on the military. If we make an EU Army, the wealthy states pay automatically more than the poor, but the poor can use the saved money for own investments (if they have a competent government that is normally missing). But even the rich nations profit, because of increased security and overall lower costs. This is intelligent transfer.

  157. avatar
    Tobias Stricker

    It is simply the wrong question! It has nothing to do with moral categories. The question is: does it long term work for both sides? And the historical experience is clear: it will never work long term. Even national states break up if one region has to transfer its wealth to other regions. Look all separatist movements. Lega Nord, Catalonia, … There the people are fed up that their wealth is transferred to other regions. The second point is that it creates moral hazard. The receiving regions will always just lay back and their only effort is to get more transfers. We can see this even in Germany. In the begin the most states paid in the pot, now there are only 3 left, out of 16. The third point is what is really done with that money? Investments? An investment would mean that you later generate more income out of it. I haven’t seen any real investment in recent years, especially not in the weak regions. Almost 100% is channeled in some corrupt pockets or is wasted in projects everybody knows will never generate anything and are nothing else than “Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahmen” (programs to create jobs for some short time as long as the project exists). What do we learn is that direct transfers never work. What we have to think about is a kind of transfer system that everyone profits from. Example an EU Army. Around 20% of national budget is spent on the military. If we make an EU Army, the wealthy states pay automatically more than the poor, but the poor can use the saved money for own investments (if they have a competent government that is normally missing). But even the rich nations profit, because of increased security and overall lower costs. This is intelligent transfer.

    • avatar
      Filipe Nunes

      You have a made a good point there, although the expenses on the military are around 2%, not 20%.

    • avatar
      Tobias Stricker

      Filipe Nunes 20% of the budget, 2% of GDP

    • avatar
      José Bessa da Silva

      Keep your army to yourself. Better to leave the EU than to grant firepower to the corrupt elite in Brussels.

  158. avatar
    Filipe Nunes

    Of course it is. The wealthier countries have a lot to gain from doing that. They are investing in expanding their own external markets. And the countries that are welthy now have largely benefited from the investment that the USA made in their reconstruction through the Marshall plan after WW2. So, don’t be hypocrites.

  159. avatar
    Faddi Zsolt

    Is it fair that rich EU countries rob the poorer EU countries, make forced privatisations, buy state corporations for 1 eur to make them bancrupt few months later? Is it fair, that western mega-corporations make concerns and don’t allow to poorer countries to raise the minimal weight over 300 eur? Is it fair when those companies exploit these countries and leave only unemployment? Just fuck off with such questions!

  160. avatar

    It has nothing to do with fairness, it is a Union, and it should work as a Union. Otherwise there is no need for Unions as such.
    Nevertheless,if poor countries fail to develop(God knows why), rich countries receive thousands of immigrants from poor countries, does that ring a bell?

  161. avatar
    Stephen Challen

    Not under a protectionist and racist structure seen under the EU. There is no mistake over why they built a building to remind them of the tower of babel and use the symbols of Zeus. The United Nations is where we should be putting our efforts.

  162. avatar
    Chalks Corriette

    Another complex issue and a question that is more about causing conflict than seeking solutions of peace and understanding. When we are ready to solve the real problems countries face, we will find a workable solution.

  163. avatar
    Emrah Sarısoy

    with this policy there is a danger of losing competitiveness. On top lack of attractiveness for highly qualified peope due to very high taxes in several EU countries. No need to mention language complexity concerns. EU can not continue as it is now.

  164. avatar
    Filipe Costa

    It is not a question of fairness, it is needed. Each country is like a state of a big country. No country is prosperous with dead ends…

  165. avatar
    Al Beirão

    But what happens today is the other way around, right?
    Did you forget about recent crisis and the support to german and frenxh banks?
    Or you lost memory?

    • avatar
      Tchoum Xav

      It received money for 40 years to waste on mafia-ridden contracts… And is one of the richest economies. If that does not translate in wealth for all, go talk to your government…

    • avatar
      Carmine Tobiello

      Tchoum Xav we recueces money we contributed and now do not tell me that all the eastern european corrupt economies are all Saints ask the romanians, bulgarians and so on that moved to italy and are immensely contributing to the mafia economy as if we did not have enough of our own…. these are monies my forefathers worked hard to earn and to let us slightly well off why exactly should we share with inefficient even more corrupt economies? Ask your government as you are not even able to say thank you. Ridiculous!

  166. avatar
    Donatas Dlugoborskis

    What about importing millions of young well-educated people from poorer EU countries, creating huge demographic crisis and population shrinkage that leads to a falling potential for investment and stagnates future growth (lack of workforce)?

  167. avatar
    Arnout Posthumus

    Yes. Atleast many rich nations became rich over the back of others. Besides that we are ONE EU. So we must become strong as ONE. If we are not willing to pay for that then the EU means nothing.

    The progress you can make in poorer countries is imo easier then progress in rich countries.

  168. avatar

    First of all, they have made them poor and they hold them poor.
    They don’t pay for the development of those countries,they make money by giving them loans and selling to them insane expensive products

  169. avatar

    Paying to improve your competitors infrastructure in an enclosed market is lunacy.

  170. avatar
    Franz M

    Yes it is fair to boost weaker regions or countreis. It pays off in the long run. Imagine being asked the same about a region in yur country. “Is it fair that this poorer region gets infrastructure paid by all tax payers in our nation!?” Yes it is. Example Austria: Infrastructure in our eastern neighbournig countries is helping Austrian economy as well, since these economies are deeply connected today and profit from positive developments in other countries. The farthes you can get from the boarder in Austra is about a 2 hour drive. So everyone lives in an are that is impacted by what is going on in the neighboring country. It is basically about pushing the EU forward and you do this by attacking the greatest deficites in euach region. In underdeveloped regions you need mor money. It is as easy as that.

  171. avatar

    Stupid question, the rich take away more then they give. It always worked that way.

  172. avatar

    What the hell is wrong with you? The poor countries are made and kept poor on purpose by the political powers in order to get them in debt and keep them in leash. Don’t you ever wonder how come you find in every god damn supermarket of the continent the same soft drinks,cosmetics, detergents or medical products made by big companies which buy everything in sight and monopolize the market? Do you ever find local products promoted as much as American or German ones?Can competitors keep up with their prices? Is it fair that RICH EUROPE makes and keeps POOR EUROPE that way? Do you realize yet that the citizens are NOT IDIOTS, but disappointed and disgusted with the bullying our countries suffer? Do you even care? Do you understand the Brits voted for Brexit and if all the other countries would ask their citizens to choose, I believe the world as we know it would change dramatically? This whole concept was stupid to begin with. Patriotism and the feeling of belonging, history, families never die. And one can not be family with the entire village. The village is made up of different families. Whatever… Keep playing this silly play. Nobody’s buying it!

  173. avatar

    Why are poorer nations poor? Ask the World Bank. There be Gold in them Hills just a shame the locals are not allowed to mine for themselves. Same with Diamonds, Oil etc.

  174. avatar

    There’s a moral responsibility to do so (see Rawls or Brundtland), and that is what makes Europe a more civilised continent.

  175. avatar

    Absolutely, especially when the rich countries have amassed their fortune off the misfortune of the smaller poorer countries!! Its called exploitation, otherwise known as daylight robbery!!

  176. avatar

    It’s normal, more than normal. Don’t forget that former comunist countries payed too much for the freedom of Occident.

    At least for me, Stalin was as worse as Churchill and Roosevelt.

    But it is too much to coment.

  177. avatar

    Will Europe (or the already rich countries of Europe) continue to be rich if poorer countries’ economies remain undeveloped?

  178. avatar

    Our help needs to come with certain conditions attached. Non-democratic countries should not get free money. And Putin’s allies should be financed by Putin himself. Not with MY tax money.

  179. avatar

    Absolutely. So long as the investments are productive. I live in Spain which was a net recipient and is now a net contributor, and the recipients, now mostly ex-Soviet bloc states, could use the help.

    Should this state of affairs be permanent? Or will eventually the whole Union be on equal enough footing to end it? 🤔 What I would worry about is generating an ‘Alabama’, a state permanently dependent on aid with delusions to the contrary. We should have solidarity, but be results-oriented with zero tolerance for corruption and mismanagement.

  180. avatar

    They dont pay. They lend money to sell their products and defend their geopolitical goals

  181. avatar

    As long as you want to call the EU a union then yes.

  182. avatar

    Make them pay for the poorer countries

  183. avatar


  184. avatar
    Frank murphy

    I think Spain is a third world country the way they treat their people,if I was a member of the Spanish government,the first thing I’ll do is to sack get rid of the pen pushers that work in the embassy in England and Scotland to me there on a long big jolly

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