The Commission's Communication draws together the threads of different proposals and analyses the different ways in which EU action offers added value. It recalls that there is a consensus among Member States on new priorities for the future in the Union. The Member States have all agreed on the need to boost competitiveness, to respond to enlargement by encouraging growth in the new Member States, to develop an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and stronger external policies.

National spending over the past seven years has grown more than twice as fast as EU spending. The fact is that Europe can provide much-needed added value but without sufficient financial resources that value remains an empty promise. The Commission orients its proposals so that the EU budget brings results that cannot be achieved at national level for the same rate of return. It shows that a Euro spent at EU level can offer more than the Euro spent at national level.

The Communication also lays out the various instruments which will deliver action under each heading of the budget. The package of measures put forward on July 14 will be complemented with other proposals, to come later, in the areas of external relations, research, and freedom, security and justice. Separate proposals have already been presented in a series of areas:

- For cohesion policy, a figure of Euro 336.1 billion is explicitly mentioned in the new draft Regulations on the EU Structural Funds, presented as anticipated by the...

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