No cuts to EU Budget - A letter from cloud cuckoo land.

CookieMonster

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Curtailing 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.

Enrique Barón-Crespo,
Former President, European Parliament; former President of the Parliamentary group of European Socialists

Joachim Bitterlich,
Executive Vice-President International, Veolia Environnement Paris; Vice-President, Notre Europe

Pervenche Berès,
European Deputy

Josep Borrel Fontelles,
President, European University Institute of Florence; former President, European Parliament

Jean-Louis Bourlanges,
Former European deputy

Laurent Cohen-Tanugi,
Lawyer

Etienne Davignon,
Belgian State Minister; former Vice-President, European Commission

Jean Baptiste de Foucauld,
Inspector of finance

Jacques Delors,
Founding President, Notre Europe; former President, European Commission

Ana de Palacio,
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Spain

Renaud Dehousse,
Director, Center for European Studies, Sciences Po Paris

Philippe de Schoutheete,
Former Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union

Isabelle Durant,
Vice President, European Parliament

Piero Fassino,
Secretary General, Democrats of the Left in Italy

Jean François-Poncet,
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, France

Emilio Gabaglio,
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

Sylvie Goulard,
European deputy

Elisabeth Guigou,
French Deputy and former Minister

Klaus Hänsch,
Former President, European Parliament

Philippe Lagayette,
President, Fondation de France

Eneko Landaburu,
Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in the Kingdom of Morocco

Allan Larsson,
Former Minister of Finance, Sweden

Pierre Lepetit,
Inspector of finance; Vice-President, Notre Europe

Paavo Lipponen,
Former Prime Minister, Finland

Vitor Martins,
Advisor on European Affairs to the President of the Republic of Portugal; former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mario Monti,
Former European Commissioner; President of Bocconi Unversity, Milan

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa,
President, Notre Europe; former Minister of Economy and Finance, Italy

Riccardo Perissich,

Former Director General, DG Industry, European Commission
Alojz Peterle,

European deputy; former Prime Minister, Slovenia

Julian Priestley,
Former Secretary General, European Parliament

Antonio Puri Purini,
Advisor to Italian President; former Ambassador of Italy in Germany

Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul,
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

Daniela Schwarzer,
Researcher, SWP Berlin

Antoinette Spaak,
Belgian State Minister; former European deputy

Barbara Spinelli,
Journalist

Pedro Solbes,
Former Minister, Spain

Christian Stoffaës,
President of the Board, Centre of Prospective Studies and International Information (CEPII)

Pawel Swieboda,
President, Demos Europa

Christine Verger,
European Parliament Director; former Secretary General, Notre Europe

Guy Verhofstadt,
President, ADLE group in the European Parliament; former Prime Minister of Belgium

Daniel Vernet,
Journalist

Jérôme Vignon,
President, Semaines Sociales de France
http://alankennedy.posterous.com/no-cuts-to-eu-budget-a-letter-from-cloud-cuck

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.

Good God.
 


NYCKY

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The EU needs a new own resource, with receipts going directly to the EU budget rather than being channelled through member states

The EU needs its own resource. A euphemism for tax if ever I heard one. Of course like all it would start out small but grow exponentially.
 

Squire Allworthy

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There needs to be a debate, plan, of how a union like the EU is administered. It is a fundamental issue and involves how much can and should be done at local, then regional, National and EU level.

I think we should look at this with a view to making as many decisions as possible locally. The reason for this is that people locally can see how their local taxes are being spent and how their decisions are effecting their children's education and the local health care for the elderly.

There should be local tax variations, set locally. There is no reason why Donegal should have the same tax rate as Waterford or Dublin.

The question has to be just how much can your local council do?

How much should the be done at the EU level? Currency? Defence? Coordinating Policing? Foreign Policy?

Britain under that wonderful New Labour embarked on a process of Regionalisation without having a proper idea of why, how, and a structure that applied equally across the UK so that all citizens would be equal. It often merely duplicated what was at the Centre and increased costs. The country remains as centralised as ever it was, yet to have effective Regions should mean less centrally.

Europe has ended up where it is because there really has not been a proper debate on structure and what would be best for the collective peoples of Europe. Without a clarity of purpose no government is going to be willing to relinquish any power that it has and the various Nationalities will will equate all proposals in terms of plus and minus for their Nation. I think that argument is pointless and that the shift needs to be towards renationalisation and many of those regions could, and should, be across what are now national boundaries. Now in the current context that would be heresy. Why should there be a France? Should Brittany be a self governing region? What about Catalonia or the Basque region?

The EU is simply a collection of Nation states and as such is for me a disappointment.
.

IMO an EU more like an enlarged Switzerland (plus some) would be an EU worth being a member off.
 

CookieMonster

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Great post. Interesting stuff.
 

Clanrickard

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I think we should look at this with a view to making as many decisions as possible locally. The reason for this is that people locally can see how their local taxes are being spent and how their decisions are effecting their children's education and the local health care for the elderly.
.
The EU already has such a policy, called subsidiarity, enshrined in it's policy. The thing is it is nearly always ignored because the Eurotrons aren't interested policies that work. What they want is policies that drive forward "deeper integration". Subsidiarity would mean power flowing from the centre to the nation state and then on to regional assemblies and this does not suit the Brussels Bureaucracy.
 

Sync

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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.
My absolute favourite bit. It's like Wayne Allison saying he takes less of a % of match earnings than Wayne Rooney and so shouldn't face a cut.
 

CookieMonster

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My absolute favourite bit. It's like Wayne Allison saying he takes less of a % of match earnings than Wayne Rooney and so shouldn't face a cut.
Oh but there are so many bits to love.

I love the fact that the make a case for no cuts because the EU is capable of creating an economy of scale. I though the idea of economies of scale was to spend less money?

And as a friend asked, with some frustration, what exactly is intelligent growth?
 

CookieMonster

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The EU already has such a policy, called subsidiarity, enshrined in it's policy. The thing is it is nearly always ignored because the Eurotrons aren't interested policies that work. What they want is policies that drive forward "deeper integration". Subsidiarity would mean power flowing from the centre to the nation state and then on to regional assemblies and this does not suit the Brussels Bureaucracy.
It's absolutely bloody disgusting. These guys believe the solution to every problem is to give the EU more power and more money, that there isn't a single problem which can't be solved by a bigger and better funded EU. National Governments, the enactors of subsidiary can go broke for all they care as long as the wonderful EU can step in and tell you what is best for you.
 

Mitsui2

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And as a friend asked, with some frustration, what exactly is intelligent growth?
Not disagreeing with the tenor of the thread or anything, but just on this point:

surely basing economic growth on, say, making, developing and/or exporting things rather than on building more and more shoebox houses then selling them to one another (i.e. eschewing the recent Irish model) would be an example of at least comparatively intelligent growth?

As I say, just on this point: and I stand to be corrected even on that.
 

Squire Allworthy

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The EU already has such a policy, called subsidiarity, enshrined in it's policy. The thing is it is nearly always ignored because the Eurotrons aren't interested policies that work. What they want is policies that drive forward "deeper integration". Subsidiarity would mean power flowing from the centre to the nation state and then on to regional assemblies and this does not suit the Brussels Bureaucracy.

I think they have got it the wrong way round.

If they want 'deeper integration' and an expanding EU they have to devolve to the regions. That would make the concept both attractive and viable. I would interoperate 'deeper integration' as a perception of identity.

I could well imagine myself in a strong Munster region, with a much weaker Nation and an Europe wide administration doing only whatever needs to be done at that level. In that context, and certainly if I was in a Basque Region or similar, I would see myself as Basque and then European rather than French or Spanish. Munster may indeed develop its own more direct links with Gascony, Brittany, Wales or the South West of England. Ulster would be an interesting region with strong connections to Scotland as well as the rest of Ireland.

A Europe of autonomous regions. Wouldn't go down at all well with the centralists in Dublin or Brussels.
 

Passer-by

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The EU already has such a policy, called subsidiarity, enshrined in it's policy. The thing is it is nearly always ignored because the Eurotrons aren't interested policies that work. What they want is policies that drive forward "deeper integration". Subsidiarity would mean power flowing from the centre to the nation state and then on to regional assemblies and this does not suit the Brussels Bureaucracy.
You might want to check your definition of subsidiarity as it is essentially the complete opposite of what subsidiarity actually means.

In an EU context, the concept is covered reasonably enough in Article 5(3) TEU:

Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.
 

Passer-by

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No cuts to EU Budget - A letter from cloud cuckoo land. - Alan Kennedy's sententia

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.

Good God.
So what's the problem Cookie? You do realise that the EU has to be paid for somehow?

Is this a Socialist Worker-style issue - i.e. bin charges are fine when paid for through income tax collected by central government but something to go to jail over when paid for through tax collected by local government?
 


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