4 Responses to Knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing »»
The figure of 60,000 civil servants for Birmingham City Council was disputed by the council when that claim was first made. The actual figure from the time was 48049 of which 26323 were financed by the Children, Young People and Families Grant (CYPF) programme of the Department of Education.
You make the usual pro EU case in relation to the UK with regards to the budget. May I please provide some balance.
Then EU budget is “a mere 1% of government spending.” Just so, but the governments must provide social security / welfare, health, education, defence, etc. These are the really big ticket items which the EU clearly does not, although of course the EU does pass laws that it then requires national governments to finance, e.g. social legislation etc. Indeed it is the growth of the welfare state that has contributed mightily to the overspending you refer to. You are not comparing like headings.
The 6% administrative cost you refer to equated to £918m for the UK in 2011 (all figures from UK Pink Book, 2012 figures are still only provisional) For this we gave the EU £15.3bn, received a rebate of £3.1bn, and received £4.1bn in EU ‘investment and assistance’. You then suggest that this £4.1bn was invested so as to create jobs, protect the environment, assist research etc., and I would not contest that it may well have done some good. But one wonders what more could have been done if we had simply kept a greater proportion of the money we passed to the EU and invested it directly ourselves and not had to pay a 6% surcharge for the privilege of doing so? Let us not forget all the great infrastructure projects the political vanity of the EU has created, airports in Spain that have never had a plane land, the Rio-Antirio Bridge, Calabia Autostrada etc. Each examples of projects that either had significant corruption or were unsustainable on economic grounds which net contributor money has gone to finance.
Incidentally with regards to foreign development aid, according to the OECD the UK gave more to Third World Countries than most other EU countries and more than any of the other large states at 0.52% GNI, compared with 0.47% France, 0.35% Germany, and 0.16% Italy.
There is then the discussion regarding the mere 55,000 EU civil servants as opposed to the 60,000 council employees in Birmingham. Birmingham council employees provide amenities such as housing, social, child and highway services etc., direct services to the public. What services exactly would the average Brummie miss if the 55,000 EU civil servants went home tomorrow ? I can imagine the howls of anguish when the EEAS stopped functioning, when the number of directives issued dropped to zero etc. I may exaggerate for effect, but to compare these two groups of workers is to compare apples and oranges, they do entirely different jobs and the question really is how you value the worth of each type of employment. Oh and let’s not forget, there is a considerable difference in the average salary between the two sets of staff.
Most workers in the UK have had a pay freeze for several years now, all our pension contributions have increased and no one will collect their pension for many more years than was originally the promise. Please why do you believe that the EU staff should be treated differently ? If they find it so unpleasant they always have the option to leave the EU service and find better positions.
With regards to the EU having it’s own resources. This is the real political issue, to support this you must believe that the EU should be more than a trade organisation. I appreciate many (perhaps even a majority on the mainland continent) want and accept this. You must be aware that this is not the case in the UK, hence the fundamentally different points of view that so often emerge between the UK and the EU. But to comment specifically on one of the sources of revenue your link mentions, the idea of an FTT applicable to only part of the global market is a great way of moving trade to parts of the world where it is not in place. Ask Sweden about their experience and then consider the original EU report that suggested 90% of the trade would be lost when such a tax was imposed.
Dear Vérité, thank you very much for your comment. During our work we pay attention to the details, therefore we are only using official figures approved and used by the European Commission and by the Eurostat. In this case we will forward your information and ask for a clarification in the figures.
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[...] Petros Fassoulas is chairman of the European Movement. This post first appeared on the European Movement’s website [...]