"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."

Friday, 16 July 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us?

First of all, let's hear from Anatole Kaltesky writing in the Times last Thursday:
"The construction of a federal Europe has never relied on democratic support, merely on acquiescence and the force of habit. The creation of a viable single currency, backed by a European federal budget, will merely be the next stage of this non-democratic process."
Force of habit and acquiescence - aka political steam-rollering - are something we know only too well in England since we've just emerged from thirteen years of state-of-the-art manipulation.  It's a hegelian/ fabian thing and it's so subtle it hasn't yet registered with the majority of the electorate.  Most people are too busy working, feeding their families, providing a roof and paying taxes to pay much attention to government; it's only when their lives go disastrously wrong that they question government.

What matters now is that the LibServative Coalition govt mustn't be allowed to continue down the same path of the Labour govt - no nudging and fudging.  Hasn't it occurred to tptb that things are in such a state of flux that events must be allowed to settle and the people should be given time to grasp the enormity of what is happening?   I suspect it has and this is why everything seems so rushed and we're given no time to draw breath between one 'administration' and the next.

Cameron brushed aside a question in this week's PMQs from Nadine Dorries (Con, Mid-Beds) about the UK's contributions to the EU's budget.  MEPs aren't too happy about national governments' attempts to halt a proposed 5.9% increase to the EU's 2011 budget. National ambassadors to the EU have agreed a draft budget for 2011 of €126.58 billion, which is €3.6bn less than the draft budget presented by the Commission in April.  The proposal would still mean that the EU's budget would increase by 2.8% next year compared to 2010's budget, but the Commission's proposal would represent a 5.9% increase.

Sidonia Jedrzejewska MEP, the EP's spokesman/spokeswoman/spokeschair/rapporteur on the budget, responded to national governments' offer by telling an EP committee that, "I take these cuts not only as a provocation but as an offence." Jedrzejewska suggested that plans to cut the budget for youth training programmes were "a slap in the face."

The negotiations are slated to be quite tough but don't hold your breath.  Seven member states - Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden & UK - oppose the compromise of a 2.8% increase, arguing that there should have been even deeper cuts to the Commission's proposal but I don't think it means anything.

Finance ministers (EcoFin) have agreed to give the EU financial supervisors power to bypass national regulators.   Although the UK was initially opposed to giving such powers to the European supervisors, it relented on this proposal. In exchange, national governments, rather than the EC for example, will have the last word on what constitutes an "emergency situation" in which the ESAs can use their powers of direct supervision. However, it is not yet clear under what voting system member states will decide on this!
The EP is calling for all three ESAs to be housed in Frankfurt, but this has been rejected by the UK, which insisted that the European Banking Authority (EBA) - the EU watchdog responsible for the banking sector - would be based in London.  There'll be further 'negotiations' (aka 'jollies') in the Autumn,

This year the EU will spend almost £1 billion on pensions, giving the average retired official an income of around £60,000.  The UK's contribution will be £135 million.  The average annual pension pocketed by the 17,471 retired officials benefiting from the scheme is £57,194, but the highest ranking officials can expect pensions of over £102,000.  In 2009, the average retirement age for EU officials was 60, falling to 58 for lower secretarial grades.  In Britain, the govt is raising the retirement age from 65 to 66 by 2016 so I think we know where we stand vis-a-vis the Lords of the Demesnes and the Villeins.

The UK's 72 MEPs have the worst attendance record of all 27 member states during key voting sessions, with an average 85% attendance rate over the last year. The three British MEPs with the absolute worst attendance record are the UKIP MEPs David Campbell Bannerman, Paul Nuttall and Godfrey Bloom, each averaging under 63 percent attendance.

The annual report of the EU's anti-fraud office,  (Olaf .pdf) notes that of its 133 investigations into cases of fraud, most concerned officials from the European Commission, the EU Parliament and EU agencies, as well as the Committee of the Regions, the Data Protection Supervisor, the EU Ombudsman and the European Investment Bank. The Olaf report identifies €1.8 billion in EU funding which was open to fraud and irregularities, which is €700 million more than in 2008. Structural Funds are thought to be most prone to abuse.

Fifteen MEPs have travelled to the Seychelles for a 2-day ACP-EU joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting so let's hope the water is clear, the sands warm and the jellyfish plentiful.

Our busy-bee govt must also decide on a quite controversial EU investigation order by 28 July.   The Home Office has until 28th of this month to decide whether to opt in to plans for a European Investigation Order, which would allow police officers from an EU country to demand information from UK officers on anyone they suspect of a criminal offence. The directive would see UK police almost powerless to prevent the handing over of personal details such as DNA, bank account or even telephone records.

So, there we have it for this week's record of incompetence, wilful neglect and economic, political & socio-engineering.  I'm going to check out some Wagner.

H/t: Open Europe, the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and diverse European sources.

5 comments:

  1. I just knew you could not 'keep away' GV - nice article and well said!

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  2. AnonymousJuly 16, 2010

    I'm just glad somebody's on point Wittering.

    Keep it coming CE, I quote you on my forum almost every week (properly acknowledged).

    Steve

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  3. I have a friend in the UK that wants them to have closer ties with the continent. I can not understand why anyone would want their nation to relinquish it's sovereignty.

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  4. Another great collection of truths.

    I always save, look up, and even print so I can show friends, columns such as yours.

    Good work. Thanks CE.

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  5. Thanks all for your kind comments. Most of what the EU is doing is out there now - it can't be hidden since Lisbon. They're in such a hurry that mistakes are bound to be made - the only question is: how much more rolling over will the British people do? In effect, we're financing two govts through taxation.

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