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The Commission launched an ambitious process of modification of the basis for the budget allocation (hereafter referred to as the “allocation system”), proposing a menu of objective criteria for the distribution of resources in the next programming period. Such a process raised a series of questions on which a political agreement is needed, i.e. what criteria – linked to political objectives and priorities – should be adopted to define the distribution; how to turn them into indicators; how concretely to combine them; if appropriate, how to take into consideration the historical allocation. The modification of the allocation system has represented an important factor in the reform process of the CAP, both for the impact it would have among Member States and for its effects on national contexts. The achievement of political objectives and priorities depends on it. However, the political deal on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, reached by the 27 Member States during the European Council (8th February 2013), seems to have settled on an allocation system endorsing the current distribution of resources, which largely reflects the past spending framework, and disregarding the use of objective criteria proposed by the Commission. The paper, aims to provide a critical analysis on the approaches linked to formula driven distribution, allocation criteria and indicators. After introducing the contents of the agreement on the MFF and citing the contributions existing in literature and examples of political, implementation, the paper investigates the use of objective criteria and indicators focusing in particular on those proposed by the European Commission for the reform post-2013, highlighting those weaknesses which still exist in these approaches, which, in turn, lead to a marginal use of objective criteria.


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