EU budget rise by stealth
By Jeffrey Titford WHEN Tony Blair agreed the budget for the EU for the period 2007-2013 in December, everyone knew that Britain would be paying a lot more for its membership.
By Jeffrey Titford
WHEN Tony Blair agreed the budget for the EU for the period 2007-2013 in December, everyone knew that Britain would be paying a lot more for its membership. However, because of all the Government spin, it has been difficult to get precise details about exactly what has been given away in what was euphemistically called 'the negotiations'.
Therefore, I am indebted to the Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign for their excellent pamphlet on this subject. It is a little known fact that there are EU-sceptic organisations within the Labour movement and this one has been around for many years and has issued some excellent literature in that time.
The official line is that Britain's net contribution to the EU will rise from an estimated £4.7 billion in 2007 to a range of between £6 billion and £6.8 billion by 2011-2013. This amounts to just under £40 billion in the period to 2013. Enough, by the way, to build and fully equip 200 NHS hospitals.
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However, it appears that this massive figure is still not the end of the story because figures quoted by official sources on our net contributions to the EU almost always focus only on the money paid direct to the EU budget. They appear to exclude payments made by the Treasury to other parts of the EU organisation. This will mean that there is a major difference between the Government's estimates and the actual figure we will pay.
Indeed, even as I write, the EU's Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite is making public statements to the effect that the budget settlement will be £20 billion higher than the Prime Minister has been telling us due to money being set aside for such things as major disasters, humanitarian aid and a 'globalisation adjustment fund'.
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In the period 2000-2004, the Treasury paid out some £9.1 billion over and above its contributions to the main EU budget. It doesn't take a mathematician to work out that if we kept paying out extra money to the EU institutions at the same rate, without any increase, it would push our contributions up to almost £55 billion for the period 2007-2013, not the £40 billion we have been told.
Furthermore, if our contributions to the EU institutions were to rise in line with our increased contribution to the main budget, then we could see our net contribution to the EU between 2007 and 2013 go as high as £70 billion! This would be a massive drain on our resources which would make our annual net contribution a colossal £10 billion.
With hospitals and schools running out of money to the extent that the NHS is making nursing staff redundant and some schools cannot afford photocopying, this outrageous open cheque book approach to EU funding cannot continue. As a nation, we need to decide our priorities; health and education or continuing to fund the EU, a dangerously undemocratic, corrupt, wasteful and dated organisation?
Jeffrey Titford is an MEP for the East of England, representing the UK Independence Party.
www.jeffreytitfordmep.co.uk or www.ukip.org