Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Groundhog day

The 2012 draft EU budget has been announced and ... well, let's see if you can guess ... yes it is going up by 4.9 per cent. Well, well, well.
The draft budget for 2012 represents € 132.7 bn in payments amounting to a 4.9 % increase on 2011. Commitments amount to €147.4bn (+3.7%). The key objective of the 2012 Draft Budget is to fully support the European economy and EU citizens.

For austerity

The draft budget 2012 endeavours to be in tune with the current austerity climate at national level. The Commission has made a particular effort and opted for a freeze of its administrative expenditure for 2012 i.e. a 0.0% increase compared to the 2011 budget. This has been achieved by significantly reducing expenditure linked to buildings, information and communication technology, studies, publications, missions, conferences and meetings. Furthermore, for the third year in a row, the Commission does not request any additional new post.

Also, in drawing up next year's draft budget, the Commission endeavoured to identify programmes or initiatives that are not performing. The Development Cooperation Instrument has been reduced by €70.7 million as a result of its performance assessment. The Industrialised Countries Instrument has seen a reduction of €14.5 million due to high level of de-commitments in 2007 and low performance and delay in adoption of the new legal base. GALILEO funding has been reduced by €24.9 million (N.B. figures in commitments appropriations). "We owe it to the European taxpayer, says Commissioner Lewandowski: savings must include looking seriously at what we are doing and asking ourselves whether everything we do brings genuine benefit to the whole of Europe!"
A British government spokesman has announced that this would not be acceptable. Dutch and French comments were along similar lines.

As it happens all that gobbledy-gook about it being "a declaration of war against Downing Street" as Bruno Waterfield puts it in the Telegraph is just that, gobbledy-gook: Cameron went along with what Germany and France wanted. He did not lead any sort of an opposition except in the feverish imagination of British hacks.

What will the British taxpayer be faced with if the draft is accepted? Another £682 million on top of what we are paying already. And, it is all so well spent. (Not that I am particularly surprised that aid money is wasted. Possibly whatever does not get to the poor countries can be said not to do any actual harm by funding bloodthirsty kleptocrats.)

What will the Boy-King do this time?

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