Monday, December 5, 2011

Is this true?

Der Spiegel reports rather huffily that Britain has been obstructing the building up of a common EU foreign policy. Generally speaking one needs to take these complaints with a large dose of salt. Common statements are not as important as all that and, if needs be, France will deviate from them as well. What matters is the slow building up of the structures and that proceeds apace.

During the Second Reading debate of Lord Pearson's Bill, Lord Stevens of Ludgate said [scroll down to Column 1248]:
I do not propose to spend much time on discussing where all the EU money goes, suffice it to say that a prime example of what appears to me as a layman to be gross duplication and waste is the new foreign service. Its budget is 20 times the cost of the UK's Foreign Office and includes among other items £33 million for 150 bomb-proof limousines for all EU ambassadors. The number of staff employed by its quangos and committees alone has tripled during the past five years, amounting to a total cost of more than £2 billion in 2011. It has just opened a new £25 million office in London, and our Foreign Secretary has claimed that the UK Government have brought the EU budget under control. Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Sassoon, could confirm in his reply that the UK has no liability for any losses incurred by the ECB, another potential burden on this country.
While there is a foreign service it will find work for itself despite the notorious incompetence of Lady Ashton (her official page on the EU website is here). Whoever was putting a spoke into those plans it was not our Cathy Ashton as this article in the Telegraph makes clear.

What is so odd about the Spiegel story is that the paper has, inevitably, running detailed accounts of the eurozone mess. And yet they can seriously announce that yet another "common policy" is something to strive for.


  1. WitteringsfromWitneyDecember 5, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Have linked, Helen. Mind you, you have said all that needs to be said on this matter!

  2. Don't you get tired of saying the same thing over and over again, WfW? I know I do. Why do we bother? Oh I suppose I know the answer to that. Sigh.