"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."

Saturday, 8 May 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us?

Eurozone leaders have met to discuss proposals to give the EU more powers over economic policy, including giving eurozone finance ministers the mandate to approve national budgets in the eurozone through a majority vote.

Other ideas include introducing sanctions, such as withholding EU funds, for countries that break EU debt and deficit rules, as well as a central fund to serve as a lender of last resort in case eurozone countries needed to be bailed out.  Proposals are also floating around for new EU rules setting out how individual member states can go through a 'controlled default' in future.  The Commission will present its proposals on 12 May.

Sarkozy and  Merkel have written to EC President Barroso: "For economic and monetary union to remain a success story, dealing with this crisis alone will not suffice...This implies that we reinforce the co-ordination of our economic policies and the internal surveillance mechanism of the euro area so that each country shares responsibility for the stability of the euro."

The EP has changed rules to maintain use of chauffeured limo for former President Hans Gert Pottering . It has been revealed that the Secretary General of the European Parliament, Klaus Welle, changed EU rules last November solely to allow Pöttering to keep his limousine with a driver on call.  Under previous rules Pöttering should have returned his limousine in October, three months after the appointment of the new President, but Welle changed the rules to help his former boss.

The daughter of the former Bulgarian Agriculture Minister is the country's biggest recipient of EU farm aid.  A new study by the NGO Farmsubsidy.org has revealed that the daughter of a former Bulgarian Agriculture Minister, Dimitar Peichev, has received €700,000 of EU CAP subsidies, making her Bulgaria's largest single beneficiary.  Until July 2009, Peischev was responsible for the handling of EU funds.  Details of other farming subsidy receipients included €59,585 for a Swedish accordion club and €98,864 for the Netherlands' Schipol airport.

Under the Lisbon Treaty the EU has competence in the area of sport for the first time.  UEFA President, Michel Platini, has said he wants to speak to the Commission about raising the minimum age for international football transfers from 16 to 18. He said: "I have to prove to the European Commission that, for sport, 18 is a better age than 16. We have to fight on that -- for education, for social reasons. Perhaps I won't succeed with this, but I'm very proud to be trying to do this. It's important". Platini also said that he wanted support from all EU countries to "protect the game", adding: "It's difficult to have a European Police, but if we could have a European Police for Sport, it would be very good."  Platini obviously hasn't heard of EuPol.

H/t: EU Observer, Open Europe and European Voice

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