"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A Taxpayer's Guide To The EU

Dr Lee Rotherham of the TPA has an excellent piece at ConHome: The Taxpayers' A-Z Pocket Guide to Brussels
Here's a short selection:

A is for Acupuncture. MEPs receive public funding for the more exotic forms of medical treatment, including massages and feng shui. Other options include “medical gymnastics”, traction, mud baths, hydromassage, mild electric shock, ionisation, radar, short-wave treatment, infra-red rays, and irrigation. We assume the treatment is voluntary.
L is for Linguists. The Court of Auditors calculated that in 2003 the total cost of interpretation for most of the institutions was around €163 million. A sixth of interpreters’ time was wasted by the Commission cancelling meetings at the last minute. €18 million was being spent on paying ‘terps to hang around drinking coffee in case someone decided on the spur of the moment to have a meeting.
M is for Military. Many people are satisfied with constant reassurances that the EU does not have any military intent or capabilities. Yet the EU spends €10.5 million a year on allowances for seconded national military experts and their civilian counterparts, even though the NATO Headquarters is a bus ride down the road at Mons.
P is for Pensions. EU officials, like many civil servants, get generous pensions. They pay €350 million a year out of their wages. However, this is a fraction of the outgoing annual costs - €1,086 million. €22 million of this is targeted at “allowances for staff assigned non-active status, retired in the interests of the service or dismissed”, or as we might call it, the ‘Walking Disasters and Whistleblowers Fund’. Another €4.6 million goes in pension payments to former European Commissioners.

Don't forget, today saw a ceremony performed for the Inauguration of the new session of Parliament. They're even handing out medals to ex-MEPs (!?)

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