Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sometimes one finds out things in the House of Lords

Lord Stoddart of Swindon has been busy again (and a good thing, too). He asked HMG
what was the value of United Kingdom overseas aid administered by the European Union in 2013; and what they expect the figure to be in 2014.
This blog would argue that it matters little who administers overseas aid as it is likely to lead to waste and corruption in any case and is unlikely to lead to economic development. But I digress.

HMG in the shape of Baroness Northover replied:
In 2013, the UK share of official development assistance funded from the EU budget was £813 million. UK’s contribution to the European Development Fund (EDF), a Member States voluntary fund not financed from the EU budget but also administered by the Commission, was £407 million. Estimates for the UK share of official development assistance funded from the EU budget in 2014 will be published in April 2015 as part of the provisional ODA: GNI statistics publication for 2014. The UK’s contribution to the EDF in 2014 is currently estimated to be £328 million.
That is quite a lot of money that is wasted or used to shore up corrupt and oppressive governments and organizations. Let us not forget that the UK gives money to these directly as well as through the EU and through the UN. So, we give overseas aid several times over.

One of the organizations we give aid to directly as well as part of the EU is the unspeakable UNRWA, whose purpose is to keep Palestinians in refugee camps and refugee status. It so happens that I went to a presentation on the subject a couple of days ago and intend to write about it in detail quite soon.

Back to Lord Stoddart. He also asked:
whether they will now answer the question originally asked namely, “whether they will consider recommending withdrawal from the European Union if their objectives cannot be met through negotiations”.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns replied:
The Government’s position remains the same: the European Union must reform to become more competitive, democratically accountable and fair for those inside and outside the Eurozone. The need for reform is widely acknowledged amongst the EU Institutions and other Member States.

The UK’s membership of the EU brings many benefits to the UK, including jobs and investment; a strong collective voice to negotiate free trade agreements; and greater international influence on global threats such as climate change and Ebola.

This was demonstrated at the recent European Council last October where EU leaders agreed to the 2030 climate and energy policy framework—the world’s most ambitious targets so far—as well as agreeing to increase EU financial help to fight Ebola to €1 billion.
I take it that is a no.

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