"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 December 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us?

Another edition of WHEDFU - looking at the wild, whacky and wonderful EU.

EU Defence chiefs are calling for closer co-operation.  We never saw that one coming, did we?
Faced with dwindling resources, ministers stressed the need to give "new impetus" to military collaboration in order to "safeguard the defence capabilities required" to support the EU's common security policy.
They also backed a German-Swedish initiative urging partners to identify tasks that could be shared -- from air transport to training facilities -- to ensure that Europe maintains its "ability to act credibly in crises."
The EC is backing calls for a single EU-wide patent .

MEPs award themselves £91k pa tax-free expenses.

The EU's Citizens' Initiative was set up to demonstrate how democratic and accountable EU institutions are but it seems to be falling flat on its face and is in the middle of legal wranglings:
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso refused to receive the document , sending the EU's health commissioner John Dalli instead. Mr Dalli welcomed the petition, but warned that the ECI had not been fully set up yet, drawing a question mark over the anti-GMO document ...leading the commission to brandish the anti-GMO initiative as illegitimate. "Strictly speaking, they would have to do it all over again."
There are doubts about the Euro in its present format:
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) claims that keeping "the euro alive will require cuts in living standards greater than the UK faced in the Second World War" for weaker eurozone members.  There is no modern history of falling living standards in peacetime on the scale necessary to keep the euro in its current form. This is why I think there is at best a one-in-five chance that the euro will survive as it is.
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are at loggerheads over the Memorandum of Understanding with the EU and the IMF.  (Also, Irish troops are being sent to the Lebanon as part of a UN taskforce). 

£8.3bn of  pre-accession funds has been allocated to Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and other countries, despite the fact that they are unlikely to become members of the EU. Of this, the UK contributes £1.1bn. In 2009, £100m of money paid out was deemed 'irregular', including suspected fraud cases.
"The EU is a corrupt organisation that has not had its accounts signed off for the past 16 years. So to see it hand over billions of euros to countries such as Serbia and Albania to fight corruption is frankly ludicrous.  Has it not crossed their minds that the money they are giving to eradicate corruption in the police and judiciary is falling straight into the hands of those who are responsible for the corruption in the first place?..."

3m euros for anti-poverty conference:
The forum hosted a fashion show, a "Fight Poverty" awards ceremony and "Music against Poverty" photo contest. All participants were invited to a cocktail party with unlimited champagne and expensively catered canapes at the close of the event on Tuesday.
Joke of the week:
"David Cameron is "paralysed" by euroscepticism...they are focusing on domestic naval gazing, with a dog's dinner of a Bill in Parliament seeking to placate and soothe the seething Euroscepticism..."
Or it could be this  Clegg for EU Commissioner?
David Cameron is ready to ­parachute the Lib Dem leader into Brussels as Britain’s EU Commissioner amid fears Mr Clegg will struggle to hold his seat as an MP at the next election, say Downing Street sources.  The Deputy PM would ­replace Labour peer Baroness Ashton in the post which carries a £239,000 salary and perks package worth ­another £100,000 a year.
The UK is fighting for Turkey's accession to the EU:
"We need to be bold, we need to be true to the vision which inspired the enlargement process," said Britain's Europe Minister David Lidington on joining talks in Brussels over the path to enlarging the 27-nation bloc.
EP President, Jerzy Buzek, is taking the peace.

UPDATEAlex Singleton throws more light on the EU single patent and speedier integration.

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