The EU budget: A waste of money?

To: The Solihull Times and Sutton Coldfield News

During summer, behind the scenes, the EU’s draft budget for 2009 was engineered, with minimum time for genuine scrutiny.

‘Highlights’: The budget is 116 billion, 3.15% above last year. Communications budget (promoting itself) is 171.6m, small beer compared to the 1billion for organisations actively promoting European integration including the European Movement and many others.

The lion's share goes to the European Commission, 95 billion. Of this, 35.75 billion goes to Agriculture and Fisheries. (The UK pays 374m in agricultural levies, more than any other member) 500m for fisheries initiatives, purchasing International Fishing Agreements with non-EU countries, allowing Spanish and Portuguese fishermen to plunder the world’s waters. Usually governments pocket this money leaving local fishermen, who can’t possibly compete with sophisticated European competitors, without compensation.

EU 2008 budget

"EU 2008 budget"

Administration and EU integration budget gets a 5% increase to 64.2 billion, similar rises to the last three years. The real cost of administration is carefully hidden by the creation of a series of quangos, budgeted separately.

Organisations like the European Agency for Health & Safety at Work (10.83m) and the European Foods Safety Agency (58.3m). Too many others to list.

The generous 2009 EU staff pensions contribution is 970m. The EU budget also includes measures that are technically illegal as the Lisbon Treaty has yet to be ratified and has been rejected by the people of Ireland.

Finally, the budget for the European Parliament, Brussels and Strasbourg, is 1.25 billion. These figures have to be approved but only UKIP will vote against, so smile!