Countries trade with other member states and invest across borders, while Europeans live, study and work abroad. This means that what happens in one country will affect the others. The crisis over the last few years showed the impact a few financially troubled countries can have on the rest of the EU.
It is the same old budget as before, nothing new or modern about it. Farming and structural funds are the name of the game. It is like the EU's leaders have lazily gone to the fridge, rummaged around for the same old budget they've been serving up for the last 50 years, warmed it up a bit and whacked it on a plate. Bon appétit, Europe.
It's no wonder then that the European Parliament has been so keen to defend the Erasmus programme. It significantly boosts career prospects and improves engagement in the European project.
Setting a budget is a difficult exercise at the best of times. Even when money is plentiful, it is never unlimited, so tough choices have to be made. Now imagine 27 countries, all with their own of difficulties and preferences, having to decide about billions of euros for a seven-year period in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the great depression.
After the last EU Council meeting in December, David Cameron was given a hero's welcome on his return by Tory MPs. However the mood of the House of Commons and his backbenchers has dramatically changed since then as it became clear that the much trumpeted "veto" didn't in fact stop anything from going ahead and left Britain weaker, not stronger, in Europe... the failure of Cameron's strategy in Europe has been exposed and will continue to damage British interests long past the headlines of this week's papers.
At a Commons debate ahead of the European Council meeting, one Eurosceptic MP suggested that negotiating within the EU was like the deals that the British pre-war prime minister Neville Chamberlain did with Hitler.