The paper discusses some strategies by which the Member States of the EU are identified as Net Contributors or as Net Beneficiaries. The main strategies are the conception of the "operational" budgetary balances and the conception of the "general" budgetary balances. A comparison of these conceptions proves that both of them are required to estimate the political importance of being a Net Contributor or a Net Beneficiary. To illustrate the argumentation mainly the payments in 2001 between the EU and some selected Member States are used. However, the general conclusions are valid for all Member States without prejudice to the payments of a specific year or Member State.