Letter from Europe

By Jeffrey Titford MEPSHOCKWAVES are rippling through the corridors of power in Brussels. The people of France and the Netherlands have spoken – they don't want the EU Constitution.

By Jeffrey Titford MEP

SHOCKWAVES are rippling through the corridors of power in Brussels. The people of France and the Netherlands have spoken - they don't want the EU Constitution.

A European Council meeting in Brussels convening as you read this, has the task of deciding 'what do we do now chaps'? Answer: divert attention by creating a totally unnecessary and irrelevant fuss over the British rebate.

For the record, latest available figures show that, even with the rebate, the UK's net contribution to the EU budget per capita is £42 while France pays just £19. Under the Common Agricultural Policy, France receives £117 per capita and the UK a mere £45. Therefore, Jacques Chirac's demands that we surrender our rebate are all the more grotesque.

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The signs are that the EU Constitution will be quietly shelved. However, we must not be lulled into a false sense of security. The European empire builders never give up, so we will almost certainly see it dusted off and repackaged in the future.

However, the Constitution isn't the only serious problem facing the EU. The euro is in trouble as well, with its value having steadily declined in recent weeks, down 6% against the dollar in the last month.

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There are also rumblings in Italy and Germany about the disastrous effect it is having on their respective economies. Wolfgang Clement, Germany's Economics Minister has publicly stated that the euro is 'strangling our industry'.

Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli is suggesting his country should resurrect the Lira and is putting forward proposals for ditching the euro. To add insult to injury for the eurocrats, a chain of Tuscan supermarkets has begun accepting the Lira and is enjoying a major surge in business. The euro was always a project built on foundations of sand and not surprisingly, they are beginning to crumble.

I NEVER cease to marvel at the way British politicians pretend to be producing original proposals, when they are merely implementing policies that have previously been agreed in Brussels. There is no better example than Transport Secretary, Alastair Darling's 'new' proposals for national road user charging, which many in our narcoleptic national media have praised as fresh and innovative. In reality, transport policy is a European Commission responsibility and road user pricing was outlined in an EU white paper as long ago as 2001.

Every vehicle will have to be fitted with a satellite tracking device which would determine which roads are being used. Have a guess which satellite system would carry out this monitoring? No surprise - the EU's much vaunted and expensive Galileo positioning system, for which we will have to pay, while the American satellite system was free. Beware, Big Brother in Brussels wants to know where you are!

Readers interested in more information about Jeffrey Titford MEP or UKIP can find it on www.jeffreytitfordmep.co.uk. or www.ukip.org

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