http://alankennedy.posterous.com/no-cuts-to-eu-budget-a-letter-from-cloud-cuckCurtailing budget would condemn the EU to depression
Published: November 19 2010 00:20 | Last updated: November 19 2010 06:50
From Mr Jacques Delors and others.
Sir, As member states prepare to renegotiate the full range of resources allocated to community policies in the coming lengthy seven-year period, the vast majority appear to believe that since all national budgets are being cut, the budget of the European Union should be similarly curtailed. This approach is misguided. It is based on faulty assumptions and runs counter to European interests.
The assumptions are wrong because national budgets are different from the European budget, and to compare the two is an exercise in demagogy. It must be remembered that the EU budget accounts for only about 1 per cent of gross domestic product compared with 25 per cent in the US.
Curtailing the EU budget would run counter to the interests of Europe because it would condemn the EU to economic depression or at best stagnation. At a time when national governments are forced to adopt austerity measures, the European budget can and must be used as an instrument to boost the economy. The Union is granted new competencies by the Lisbon treaty and has set very high goals for 2020 to promote intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth. With its current resources it will be unable to achieve these goals. The EU’s momentum and democratic underpinnings would again be shaken by a complete mismatch between the objectives it proclaims and the resources made available to achieve them.
EU spending is not simply added to national spending. In a number of areas (such as solidarity, defence, research and innovation and European energy and transport infrastructure), the Union can streamline total spending through economies of scale and take more effective action with fewer resources. Can the EU’s current resources be used to increase the community budget? Certainly not. The bulk of the EU budget is financed through national contributions provided by member states at a time of national belt-tightening.
The EU needs a new own resource, with receipts going directly to the EU budget rather than being channelled through member states. In fact, it is this type of resource that was foreseen by the founding treaties for the financing of EU actions. Governments would be wrong to see this as the spectre of a European tax and use it to alarm to public opinion. A new own resource could increase the EU budget and decrease member state contributions. It would enable the EU to make progress in combating climate change, through a carbon tax, or excessive financial risk-taking, through a tax on financial transactions.
European citizens would fail to understand if the post-crisis world were to be a carbon copy of the pre-crisis world with a bit less growth and more unemployment. A European economic recovery budget based on a new own resource, to be used to achieve ambitious goals, is an economic and social necessity and a matter of political urgency.
Former President, European Parliament; former President of the Parliamentary group of European Socialists
Executive Vice-President International, Veolia Environnement Paris; Vice-President, Notre Europe
Josep Borrel Fontelles,
President, European University Institute of Florence; former President, European Parliament
Former European deputy
Belgian State Minister; former Vice-President, European Commission
Jean Baptiste de Foucauld,
Inspector of finance
Founding President, Notre Europe; former President, European Commission
Ana de Palacio,
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Spain
Director, Center for European Studies, Sciences Po Paris
Philippe de Schoutheete,
Former Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union
Vice President, European Parliament
Secretary General, Democrats of the Left in Italy
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, France
Former Secretary General, European Confederation of Trade Unions
Prof Nicole Gnesotto,
Chair of European Union Studies, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers; Vice-President, Notre Europe
French Deputy and former Minister
Former President, European Parliament
President, Fondation de France
Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in the Kingdom of Morocco
Former Minister of Finance, Sweden
Inspector of finance; Vice-President, Notre Europe
Former Prime Minister, Finland
Advisor on European Affairs to the President of the Republic of Portugal; former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Former European Commissioner; President of Bocconi Unversity, Milan
President, Notre Europe; former Minister of Economy and Finance, Italy
Former Director General, DG Industry, European Commission
European deputy; former Prime Minister, Slovenia
Former Secretary General, European Parliament
Antonio Puri Purini,
Advisor to Italian President; former Ambassador of Italy in Germany
Secretary General, Notre Europe
Maria João Rodrigues,
Former Minister of Portugal; Advisor for Economic and Social Policies to the European Commission; Professor, University of Lisbon
Researcher, SWP Berlin
Belgian State Minister; former European deputy
Former Minister, Spain
President of the Board, Centre of Prospective Studies and International Information (CEPII)
President, Demos Europa
European Parliament Director; former Secretary General, Notre Europe
President, ADLE group in the European Parliament; former Prime Minister of Belgium
President, Semaines Sociales de France
I tried posting this yesterday but the site seemed to be acting up.
I can't even begin to express the anger I'm feeling after reading this letter.
I asked myself what planet Cowen and Lenihan were living on, clearly there are more than two inhabitants.