View Full Version : End to the UK rebate?
10th Jun 2005, 11:45
Why is Tony Blair even contemplating handing back our 3 Billion of hard earned cash so that the French can live in the manner to which they have become accustomed? Why don't we do what the rest of the EU would do and tell 'em its non negotiable?
10th Jun 2005, 11:51
well acording to the news thats exactly what our Tone did do, he told Chirac to go piss up his kilt, apparently the French pay next to nowt into the eu and every Frenchman with a plant pot on his widow sill is classed as a farmer and is entitled to a subsidy under the CAP.
10th Jun 2005, 12:20
I have a mandarin tree, lemon tree and a lime tree in confines of the garden Bah! Bar....do I qualify for a subsidy then?:rolleyes:
Flip Flop Flyer
10th Jun 2005, 12:37
Our dear Draper is, yet again, sprouting his ill-informed and highly inaccurate BS. Hey, I personally don't blame him - when an individual is obviously biased and only recives news from those beacons of fair and balanced reporting otherwise known as "The Uk Tabloids", the idiotic statements are fully understood.
However, in 2004 the Top 5 contributors to the EU were (In billion of Euro's): (http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10002107.shtml)
1: Germany (22.2)
2: France (17.3)
3: Italy (14.4)
4: UK (13.7)
5: Spain (10.0)
This is, of course, not the full picture - one has to take into account the aid each indivdual nation receives back. I haven't been able to locate a webbie which lists net contributions, but seem to remember that Germany and Holland are leading the pack, with both France and the UK (among others) also being net contributors.
But hey, Tony, never let facts get in the way of your preconceptions!
10th Jun 2005, 12:47
Flip flop, the aid is precisely what is important. I have no idea of the veracity of the figures but the BBC news the other night talked of the following after subsidy:
UK £5bn which is reduced to £2bn after the rebate.
The CAP us heavily skewed towards the French as shown by these figures if correct.
I don't support Tony much but the argument of the only way the rebate is negotiable is if the CAP is negotiable is the right one.
10th Jun 2005, 12:48
According to the BBC, UK pays 5 billion quid and gets three billion back, France pays 3 billion quid and gets 2 billion back in farming susbsidies.
Tell yer what, we will give that 3 bill to Africa if France does the same with its agricultural subsidies.
Chirac is a gone gossling franticly thrashing about trying to pass the buck because his countrymen told him to feck off,
tee hee I am loving it.
Flip Flop Flyer
10th Jun 2005, 13:23
Indeed, the CAP is sick. However, the reason France gains more than, say England, is because it has a much larger agricultural sector.
Now, if we eliminate the CAP and tell the combined EU farmers that they'll have to sell at whatever price they can get, one of two things will happen. If we raise the tariffs for imported agricultural products (don't think the WTO will like that) then prices will raise dramatically, as the farmers will have to raise their prices considerably to meet costs and generate a profit - and they can do so as long as they are marginally cheaper than the imported, and tariffed, goods.
If we remove the tariffs, and discontinue the CAP, well, imported agricultural products will be the order of the day. But that will never fly, since almost all other major agricultural producing nations have some sort of subsidy program for their farmers - thus buying subsidies products from a foreign nation will only serve to kill our local agricultural business and keeping the, subsidised, business going in foreign countries.
The thing is, though, that the EU farmers represent a significant electorate. And we all know that the most important aim for most politicians is to get reelected. Alas, any politician advocating a discontinuation of the CAP will almost certainly loose the farmers votes and thus greatly reduce his or her chances of getting re-elected.
One will also have to take into consideration the effect of removing the CAP, namely mass unemployment in the agro sector. A cost/benefit analysis will therefore have to be made, showing the gains of removing the CAP vs. the reduced tax income and increased social costs for the uempolyed farmers. It is hardly as if France and Germany, in particular, is presently in a position where they can easily absorb additional unemployment.
Catch 22, EU Style.
10th Jun 2005, 13:46
Ireland last year received the most EU funding per person, while the Netherlands paid in the most per capita, according to a report unveiled by the European Commission.
Four countries - Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain - were revealed to receive more money from the EU pot than they pay in.
Each Irish citizen received just under 400 euro last year from EU funds.
At the other end of the scale, Dutch citizens each paid in 120 euro to the EU coffers.
Other net contributors were Sweden (106 euro per citizen), Germany (93 euro), Belgium (75 euro) and the UK (46.5 euro). The French pay 32 euro each.
Presenting the figures, budgetary commissioner Michaele Schreyer said that, whether a member state was a net contributor or a net recipient of EU funds, everyone gains in the end from EU membership.
"For net contributors also, the economic and political benefits from belonging to the internal market, the currency union and the European peace framework far outweigh the net payments to the EU budget", she said. (yeah right)
"EU membership is the best conceivable investment", she concluded.(yeah right, for countries like Latvia, Poland et all, how much is one prepared to pay for solidarity, with the current recession...)
10th Jun 2005, 14:02
Dunno where he gets the peace thingy from, the Monrovia Peoples Liberation Front could walk into Europe tomorrow and take the place,yer soldiers been peace keeping and handing out red cross parcels for that long they forgot how to kick arse.
10th Jun 2005, 14:14
I am sure you are right in your analysis of consequences of removing the CAP.
I think it is merely being proposed that if we renegotiate the rebate, then the CAP should be renegotiated for something fairer to all, or lets say less advantageous to France, rather than removal of CAP.
Clearly the way contributions and subsidy work are no longer approriate for such an expanded EU and the whole budget arrangement needs to be reworked with fairness in mind.
10th Jun 2005, 14:33
like your that bothered Maxy101 ? I mean you havent't left the UK and live in exile to avoid paying tax now have you ?
So it's not like it's your money collecting in Taxes that's being squandered by these muppets now is it ? ;)
10th Jun 2005, 14:54
Why not "modify" the rules so that the CAP doesn't come from EU funds. If the French wish to subsidise their way of life, they can do it from French funds. Then EU funds can be spent on pan European schemes such as decent transport sysyems and upgrading essential infrastructure.
10th Jun 2005, 15:04
I suppose that when that New Bl@<hidden>@<hidden> Labour lot says that the rebate is "not negotiable", On can expect the opposite to apply. Didn't take long, did it?
10th Jun 2005, 15:43
"Tony Blair today hinted that some form of compromise over Britain's unique £3bn EU rebate could be "open to debate" - but only if the entire EU budget, including the controversial common agricultural policy, was up for renegotiation."
"Forty percent of the [EU] budget goes on CAP [the common agricultural policy] - which has 5% of the population and less than 2% of the output of the EU." (Guess who has the biggest agricultural industry in Europe?")
"However, Mr Chirac and the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder have already said that significant changes in the CAP are not on the table for the upcoming 2007-2013 budget."
10th Jun 2005, 15:50
Remember going to stay with a friend on his farm in the Alentejo (Portugal).
"What's that?" (Points at swimming pool.)
"Oh....that's my new barn."
10th Jun 2005, 15:50
Why don't we just keep all our cash and block up the chunnel.
B:mad: ll:mad: cks to them all!
Or, we could claim back all our EU funding and claim it's going to pay for all the illegals the froggies send our way, that'd have Happy Jacques choking on his pate de foie gras!:}
10th Jun 2005, 15:55
Our dear Draper is, yet again, sprouting his ill-informed and highly inaccurate BS.
I think you'll find his comments are very accurate. Without the rebate Britain would have paid x15 more than France into the hugely ineffecient EU pocket.
Why should I, as an Englishman pay for motorways in Ireland or Spain to be built, why should I finance the hugely inefficient farming methods of France.
Why should I be dictated to by Chirac when France and Germany have both broken all the rules regarding Euro membership, yet decide not to fine themselves.
10th Jun 2005, 23:36
It is about time the Europeans entered the real world and ended farm subsidies.
Just think how much tax would not have to be collected or could be channelled into other more worthy projects.
Pre 1984 New Zealand was the same as you, agriculture subsidies and various types of support were abounded.
Then in one fell swoop it was all ended, finished, done, no more money from government.
There was, of course, much wailing and gnashing of teeth and a tiny percentage of farmers went to the wall.
However, within 5 or 6 years the shock was over and farmers realised the many advantages of standing on their own two feet.
Since removal of subsidies the farming sector has grown faster than the rest of the economy.
Farming productivity has improved by an average of 5.9% per year since 1986, that is nearly 6 times more than pre 1984.
Ask any NZ farmer now what he thinks and he will say to his European counterparts, "get off the gravy train".
10th Jun 2005, 23:42
The French would go to war if we tried ended their subsidies, they would get their arses kicked as per, but they would go to war.
11th Jun 2005, 00:11
Just makes me laugh that those that generally go on about the state of Govt in this country and do take the option of getting away, not paying tax here, although Mr brown has plans to scupper that, quite often dont vote to get this bunch of Muppets out of power....
What happens when you come back here guys, if you ever do...these idiots have ruined your country!!
Did you vote Maxy101 ? I would guess prob not.
Being a Kiwi lass Henry Crun, I am with you on what you say....I think it;s time the Brits stood up and told these fools in Europe just where to get off ;)
11th Jun 2005, 00:44
....I think it;s time the Brits stood up and told these fools in Europe just where to get off
A great number of us would love to.. but we don't get the option. We in England voted overwhelmingly for the Conservative party - Labour did NOT get a majority in England.
The EU? No thanks.
But then when we discuss it, some people claim we are getting our figures wrong!!!!
12th Jun 2005, 22:08
We in England voted overwhelmingly for the Conservative party
That would be the party who presided over the re-definement of the boundaries which gave rise to the situation you complain of. A contender for a political Darwin award if ever I saw one :bored:
What a bunch of losers !
15th Jun 2005, 00:21
B Fraser I had to read your reply a couple of times to work out what you were saying! In response to Heli Gurl, I pointed out that most of England did NOT vote Labour.. simple fact.. Labour hold power as much due to the Scottish MPs as any boundary changes instigated by the Tories (and there have been more recently???)
Anyway, it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always get in.....
15th Jun 2005, 02:08
It is apparently very greedy for a nation, like the UK, to have negotiated an agreement then want to hold the other parties to its terms.
Inexcuseable unless, of course, the matter regards the national budget deficit limits of France and Germany and becomes inconvenient for those ruling nations of the EU, or other terms like the CAP which are, of course, nonnegotiable.
What duplicitous, deceitful cads Chirac and Shroeder are! Hopefully Sarkozy/Merkel will restore some sanity and logic and we'll all be the better for it.
De Villepan? The quintessential dandy.
15th Jun 2005, 09:41
Many years ago, back in the 1950s, Britain had the opportunity to join the other 6 nations (France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy) in forming the EU, at the time I believe (but I haven't done a history degree) called the European Coal and Steel Pact - but later the Common Market, and Treaty of Rome was the result of the deliberations.
As is usual with UK, and little has changed since, we chose not to take part, and as such the organisation we now know as the EU, complete with the ludicrous CAP, skewed towards the farming community, so beloved of M. Chirac was designed to suite the 6.
Then, after several attempts we (the UK) got in, and ever since then we have don nothing but kick,scream, gripe, and generally refuse to take part fully in the organisation we wanted so much to join (late). The moral being that if you want to make the rules, help form the club, don't join it later.
Europe would undoubtedly work better without two nations - Britain and France, both of which have to a large extent lost their colonies, but failed to grasp their reduced level of importance in the world. Both nations are highly xenophobic, and absolutley, positively believe that their ideas, cultures etc are 110% right - to the exclusion of everyone else.
I suggest that for the general good of the EU, the remaining 23 vote to get rid of these two, and leave then to squabble on the sidelines between themselves. The rest can then get on without French and British egos to hold them back.
Britain can then climb on board as another offshore state of the USA (like Hawaii), and the French can set up their own Francophone Union.
(Ducking for incoming fire....)
15th Jun 2005, 10:07
Those Frenchies should be greatful, that 3 billion helps buy our Redcoats bullets and bombs to help our American friends fight various wars, it should please them to know they are contributing coin to the Anglo American world arse kicking party.
Tee hee tee hee.
15th Jun 2005, 10:12
Europe would undoubtedly work better without two nations - Britain and France, both of which have to a large extent lost their colonies, but failed to grasp their reduced level of importance in the world. Both nations are highly xenophobic, and absolutley, positively believe that their ideas, cultures etc are 110% right - to the exclusion of everyone else. I suggest that for the general good of the EU, the remaining 23 vote to get rid of these two, and leave then to squabble on the sidelines between themselves. The rest can then get on without French and British egos to hold them back.
Great idea :ok: then we can spend our UK money on ourselves. Not quite sure how Ireland, Spain, etc, will cope once they have to delve in to their own pockets though ;)
15th Jun 2005, 10:30
If there were subsidies for moaning and whingeing then the UK would surely consume the entire EU budget in a heartbeat.
Looking through the archives of JB it appears that every subject, person or country known to man, has been complained, whinged and moaned about.
What a tragic nation.
15th Jun 2005, 10:40
When we first joined the EEC in the late 60s our GDP was equal to that of France and Germany combined. It was in fact touted as a way of stopping our decline by the political economists of the day.
Lot of ******* good it did then....
Bear in mind that we never voted for anything but membership of the EEC, never anything about common foreign policies or having some kangaroo court decide whether we are allowed to kick terrorists out without giving them a manicure first. Free trade is of course good but the way we are constantly lied to about Europe, the constitution being just a tidying up measure, really pisses me off.
Why not take the Billions we currently give to Europe and spend it on upgrading our railways for a few years? At the moment it goes on upgrading other countries infrastructures.
Oh and next time you see a huge sign telling you how generous the EU has been in helping to fund this or that project just remember that all it means is that we are getting a pittance of the money we give the bastards in the first place back.
15th Jun 2005, 11:25
Clarence Oveur: Agree 100%
Chaffers: Sorry, but The Treaty of Rome, to which the UK signed up in 1971 (IIRC) was about a heck of a lot more than a free trade area. As to whether the then government explained that clearly to us plebs is another matter, but we succeeded in voting "yes" in Wilson's referendum in 1973 anyway.
As for the now defunct constitution, taking away the national veto for some specific matters makes good sense - after all, apart from denying the UK the opportunity to scupper bits of legislation it didn't like, it would do likewise to the French, Germans, Latvians - and everyone else equally and without it, the EU, or for that matter, a trading block of 25 nations simply won't work. Look at the UN security council and the Arab-Israeli resolutions for proof of that.
The EU has brought us in Europe 50+ years of comparative peace in western Europe. The longest period every I believe. Do we really want to throw all that away for stupid non-issues like national sovereignty?
The EU has brought us in Europe 50+ years of comparative peace in western Europe.
And here was me thinking it was NATO and the threat from the Warsaw pact. You remember NATO - that´s the one the French withdrew from. A long second might be the Western European Union (WEU). That´s not the EU by the way.
The EU has historically excluded defence from it´s remit. Even the limited mention in the new constitution raised considerable angst amongst historically neutral countries like Eire.
The line that the EU brought peace is a complete and utter fabrication made up Brussels. No wonder Mandelson feels at home there......
15th Jun 2005, 12:02
As I've posted before when athread like this crops up: European people places and culture:ok: ; EU political organisation:yuk: .
We should pull out and concentrate on trade and relations with the anglophone world - USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and India. We'd alomost certainly take Ireland with us and probably tempt the Dutch and the Vikings as well.
15th Jun 2005, 12:04
It really is a feature of the pointlessness of the EU that one of the few things said in its favour is that it has 'kept the peace'.
Evidently you have never heard of the cold war, nuclear weapons or for that matter the breakup of the old Yugoslavia. As though the EU is responsible for peace, oh well believe it if you want to.
What exactly are you suggesting we'd be throwing away? Certainly not our economic prosperity or our security. Indeed we would be better off by the tune of several Billion per year. Our judiciary would once again have the temerity to rule by our own laws and we wouldn't have to put up with half of the illegal immigration.
What exactly would we be throwing away? Corruption for a start and those annoying MEPs who we all find so pointless. All of the stifling rules and regulations which businesses are now expected to adhere too and the beaurocracy we pay for. We might be throwing away our chance to join the wonderful Euro which even the sodding Germans want to ditch now! Wouldn't that be a shame!
Quite frankly anyone who loves Europe so much should stop whingeing about our attitude to it and go and live there. That way you get the full European integration that you appear to crave.
15th Jun 2005, 12:20
Sorry to enlighten you, but I do live in Europe - that, strangely enough, is where this small island is presently anchored.
As for "keeping peace in Europe" - Western Europe has been free from conflict, other than local "civil" (odd term that?) wars such as Northern Ireland and the Basque regions since 1945. Further east, however, things, especially in the last decade or so have been less peaceful. I think that had the UK suffered invasion by foreign forces, as France, Belgium, Germany and the like have in the last few hundred years we'd be rather more willing to take part.
If you read my earlier posts carefully, instead of with your rather petty, little-england, xenophobic head on, you would realise that I do not believe the EU to be perfect (reference the CAP in particular), but as for the way of life "work to live" rather than "live to work" ethos, yes, given the right opportunity, I'd be on the first plane out of here.
The Treaty or Rome was signed in 1957.......2007.
Amazing, so powerful it could keep the peace before it was even created.....
15th Jun 2005, 12:32
So you don't like England or anything about it, you'd like to sod off to Europe and all this makes me a xenophobe. :O :p
How very enlightening! Would you like references to the corruption, not just of the EU but also in European states? Would you like to do a little research rather than desperatey clinging to your absurb assumption that the EU has 'kept the peace'?
Is everyone who refuses to agree with your idiotic assumptions a xenophobe?
Good bye. You will not be missed.
15th Jun 2005, 13:11
Perhaps rather than negotiate the EU buget they should try and find out why and where up to 30% of it simply vanishes in thin air, or more likely brown envelopes, the EU is the most corrupt unacountable edifice ever put together by the hand of man, thankfully at last it looks like the skids are under it, I will predict this,ten years from now there will be no EU, hopefully there will be a Common Market again,but the next time round we will keep the empire builders out.
15th Jun 2005, 13:17
de Gaulle also veto'd the UK entry to the 'common market' initially
- just how ungrateful is that considering the help they have received in ww2 or was it just to allow the CAP to be set up to benefit themselves.
The Trafalgar celebrations will certainly take on additional meaning given the current differences.
15th Jun 2005, 13:21
We have a place at the top table of every single international insitution, a strong economy and a unique culture and history.
Yet there are still blithring idiots who think we 'need' Europe!
15th Jun 2005, 14:08
Ingrate indeed Mr paul twas only Churchills intervention that stopped Roosvelt having the big nosed stick insect quietly assasinated,Truman couldn't stand the **** either.
err, thats not the C word thats been censored, even though he was
15th Jun 2005, 14:34
In the UK we were given the option of either staying in or coming out of a "Common Market" I voted to stay in, it was plain straight forward common sense,if a number of shopkeepers in a town get together agree to pool resouces, buy in bulk and not undercut each other and as a result stick it up the competition, thats plain common sense however,we did not agree for the shop keepers to f*** each others wives and share the resulting bairns out at christmas.
15th Jun 2005, 15:31
We have a place at the top table of every single international insitution, a strong economy and a unique culture and history. England Inc wasn't that strong when Maggie did her Europe fast-change trick.
BTW: April showed the worst retail figures in the UK for 10 years and Xmas 2004 spending was worst since 1982.
England needs Europe more than vica versa. In the present globalisation no country can allow themselves to stay in their own cocoon (see MG R for one).
15th Jun 2005, 15:41
Capt KAOS is absolutely right.
So the choice is Europe or NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area). Which one is preferable?
15th Jun 2005, 16:36
America of course, we have always had far more in common with the cousins than the continent.
15th Jun 2005, 16:43
By Europe though you mean all of the bairns as Mr. D eloquently put it.
I'm all for free trade zones, the more the merrier. Nafta would be brilliant, though I don't see any reason why we couldn't be part of both.
BTW Iceland and a few other countries have ****** off Europe by your definition, but are still part of the free trade zone....
15th Jun 2005, 17:02
NAFTA? Gimme a break. Can you see Blair saying "No" to Bush as he is currently saying to Chirac? Didn't think so.
Europe has its (mega) faults, but I'd rather be a major player there than a very, very junior player to the US.....
15th Jun 2005, 17:07
He's saying no to Chirac?
Maybe at the moment but he'll bend and take it up the arse as usual....
15th Jun 2005, 20:26
EU keeping Europe at peace for 50 years...oh how we have chuckled at that little gem. I shall refrain from adding to the replies that have already put that lie to bed. I am interested that you blame our reticence to get involved in the EU on not having been invaded for a thousand years. Damn, if only the folks back in 1939 had rolled over and let Adolf in we would be good Europeans living in harmony. Although it would be more probable that we would be living under a totalitarian state speaking German....so pretty much how some would like the EU to turn out! I pray that your evident self-loathing of being British does not cause you too many sleepless nights.
16th Jun 2005, 09:23
I was not blaming the British position on Europe on "not having been invaded" - I used the word "perhaps". There has to be some reason why we as a nation are so against taking part positively in the EU, and I for one don't really understand why.
I know were are not always in a minority one one, though thats the way the media here tend to report things - but we do spend a heck of a lot of time being at odds with the majority.
As for hating being British, I absolutely do not, but personally I just wish that we would spend more time looking towards Europe, and taking what is good from European culture and lifestyle, rather than just blindly lapping up everything that comes out of the USA (working practices, entertainment, language to name but three).
16th Jun 2005, 10:18
America of course, we have always had far more in common with the cousins than the continent The US counts for only 15% of UK's export. Germany alone counts for 11% of UK's export, France 10%, Netherlands 7%, Ireland 6%, Belgium/Lux. 6%, Spain and Italy each 5%. Having in common is one thing, but money talks at the end. BTW, How much business in Iraq got the UK?
16th Jun 2005, 11:29
The opposite tugs on Britain to either throw in with Europe or America will ease somewhat as France and Germany elect new regimes. The 'Anglosphere' becoming the keeper of the civilizational torch has been moved back with the rejection of the EU constitution and the lurch to instutionalized socialism it would mandate.
A bloc including the US, UK, Australia, and maybe India could be a very formidable alliance for shared values. I look forward to watching it all play out.
16th Jun 2005, 12:03
The 'Anglosphere' becoming the keeper of the civilizational torch That is a bit pompous, isn't it?
16th Jun 2005, 13:53
The current Rebate vs CAP discussion is nothing more than a smoke screen to cover the resounding Non/Nee from our French and Dutch comrades to the EU Constitution.
I note that some of the talking heads in the news media are now aknowledging that fact.
The European project if fundamentally flawed and the sooner the gravy train derails the better.
16th Jun 2005, 14:08
Europe has gone to the point where peoples has got their word to say.
We had enough with that monster without soul!
We need a creation which could enlighten our lives.
We need a future based on human rights, not on lobbies and tycoons profits!
Europe is our future.
Let us shape it to Europe's people will.
You can expect they don't want to descend the lader back to 19th century.
They don't want to be used as obedient soldiers for these odl fashioned politicians only aware of THEIR career.
Giscard has reached 80, and his only pleasure is his rivalry with Jacquot.
We need new representant who run for their neighbours , not for abstracts.
16th Jun 2005, 15:11
May I suggest that this particular subject: the issue of the UK rebate on EU contributions, together with the much larger issue of the (now unnecessary UK referendum on the proposed EU constitution), are in fact part and parcel of an Anglo-American conspiracy (sorry, long-term diplomatic initiative) to:
1) Destabilise the construction of a "strong" Europe, which may at some stage have come to undermine American world-dominance and pose a "counter-balance" to unilateral American interests and,
2) Let "old Europe" carry the costs and risks of "welcoming" ex. Eastern Block countries into "America's sphere of influence", but without all the hassle...?! ;)
16th Jun 2005, 16:44
You can suggest it, but seeing as M. Chirac brought it up in what seems like a smokescreen to cover his defeat in the French vote then I think it is a bit tenuous!
Nothing like whipping up a frenzy about those Brit cheapskates backsliding at the expense of the poor French to get the electorate back on his side. Interesting that you could switch 'Brit' and 'French' there without loosing the validity of the statement!
I suspect that the fuss will all blow over, and other than maybe a slight tweak that gives both sides the opportunity to claim victory, the budget will continue as previously planned. By then everyone will have forgotten that a constitution was even proposed!
Unless the various politicians actually learn something from the whole debacle and rewrite the consitution to drop the things the majority of the EU public dislike, whilst improving the accountability of the EU. Have to stop there though - I've just spotted an airborne pink mammal through the window I need to look at!
16th Jun 2005, 16:51
Could not understand your first point...
Do you agree with the statement that Chirac has manufactured the current budget argument as a way of diverting attention from the French Non in their recent referendum?
16th Jun 2005, 16:53
Indeed Mr Dry, that was exactly my point.
16th Jun 2005, 17:39
Airship, I think by now France (Chirac) has more or less abandonded the long pursuited idea of a United Europe against the United States incl. it's pet the UK. An economically free trade zone Europe would be much stronger.
It would be nice if the "Anglo-American" brotherhood could pay for the integration of New Europe, though. It would save our country a lot of tax payers money..
16th Jun 2005, 21:37
Please, don't overestimate last move from our poor Jacquot!
.......and don't overestimate the French citizen's response to it!
He lost a lot of elections since last year, and French public has proven its ability to divert from the road that our great leaders and their servants in the media signaled with the most pleasant colours.
The victory of NON, and the ensuing polls show Jacquot has reached the lowest level, and it's a matter of astonishment and sometimes sadness for French people to look at the desperate run for power by those who used to follow Chirac.
Now......that rebate.....hum!......It's another question!
16th Jun 2005, 22:01
Of the 25 nations in the EU, 24 believe that the rebate should be dropped.
So, eventhough the Brits for some curious reason always seem to twist anything to do with the EU into a "It's all the fault of the French " argument, it is a isolated UK that will be seen by the rest of the member states as, once again, a somewhat schizophrenic member. We want to a member......but not really....oh yes we do.............not.......maybe............
Anyway, I am sure Blair is pleased with all of this as there will be no referendum and he can appear tough on EU (and the French.....hurrah)
16th Jun 2005, 23:20
UK won't be isolated, any more than the US was isolated by its policy in Iraq. You've always got us (and the Aussies, and the Poles, and the Baltics, and Italy, and the Dutch, and many, many more, including soon, the Iraqis.)
17th Jun 2005, 14:17
You will notice an interesting thing here: a lot of the arguments for the EU from people such as ATNotts are actually misinformation, presumably deliberate.
They are either meaningless (the fact that the vote in 1973 was after the treaty of Rome, meaningless in that the pro-EEC politicians did not tell people what the Treaty said, other than free trade, meaningless in that treaties since then have gone much further), misdirection (the peace in Europe - kept by NATO, not by the EU), mistakes about the purpose of the "rebate" or ignorance of history concerning the formation of the body known as the European Coal and Steel Union (we did not truly have the opportunity to join at first - it was offered but only on humiliating terms, a deliberate ploy by the French to prevent Britain from joining. True to say they never forgave us for saving them).
Further development in the argument is not to support the EU, nor does it justify the EU's ridiculous bureaucracy and expenditure. No it is petty, meaningless insults of "little Englander" and "xenophobe", or to make unjustified assumptions of what good the EU does us and fearmongering as to what harm it would do to weaken the EU, reduce its influence.
Nowhere is there a coherent argument, a real justification for accepting the EU budget as it is, let alone increasing it. Nowhere a coherent argument for accepting the corruption in the system. Nowhere, in short, is there any argument for reducing the amount of money returned to the Uk by the EU.
Of 25 nations, 24 want the 25th to receive less payment. That is what you are saying, yes?
I take it you noticed also that only the French did not want the CAP budget to be reduced?
17th Jun 2005, 15:05
Clowns, re keeping peace in Europe, if you'd bothered to learn the history of the EU outside the interest of the UK, you should know that the original reason for founding the EU back in the 50's was keeping the peace between France and Germany after 50 years and 2 bloody world wars. You have to see that in the light of those years just after the WW2.
the fact that the vote in 1973 was after the treaty of Rome, meaningless in that the pro-EEC politicians did not tell people what the Treaty said.......that the UK got 2/3 back from what it paid to the EU later on?
Nowhere, in short, is there any argument for reducing the amount of money returned to the Uk by the EU. Look at the economy now and 20 years ago. Why do the 24 members have to give money to a country which is doing so well? Why do we have to pay 86 Mio to a country which is doing much better then ourselves? And why should Poland pay 105 Mio to the UK?
Another argument would be that if the rebate continues it will grow to 7,1B over a year. England would then receive more than France and that wouldn't be fair seeing the accusations it makes to France, or would it?
Disclaimer: above is no excuse for the French holding on to their fat checks.
17th Jun 2005, 15:21
True, Kaos, but do you actually believe that without the EU war would have happened between France and Germany? I credited you with more intelligence than that. The war that did not happen in Europe was between liberal democracy and totalitarian communism.
Why do 24 members give money to France, when it is doing so well? Why do 24 members give to Ireland when it is doing so well? Why do 24 members give to Luxembourg when it is doing so well? Need I carry on?
You are again using the misinformation I was talking about. The rebate was not given to Britain because of the weakness of our economy. It is nothing to do with how well we are doing. It was given to Britain because we were getting disproportionately little grant from EU funds, due primarily to the dominance of the CAP in those grants and the relatively little received by Britain from the CAP. The rebate makes up for I believe 2/3 of the deficit, so is if anything rather too small. This imbalance is still there. Ergo the rebate is still justified.
If the rebate continues to grow it will grow to whatever arbitatary figure you choose, as there is no cap built in. Your argument is therefore equally arbitary, and so meaningless!
17th Jun 2005, 15:34
I had decided, in view of the overwhelming majority of contributors to this thread being, so far as the topic is concerned somewhere to the right of UKIP leader Roger Knapman, to duck out, but I cannot let Send Clowns response go unanswered, though Capt KAOS has gone some way to steal my arguement.
Firstly, I do not peddle "misinformation", that smacks of an accusation that any inaccuracy is deliberate. I am not (as I stated clearly earlier), the holder of a History degree, and apologise if anything I have put forward is historically inaccurate.
NATO has kept the peace between what was East and West. Since 1945 there has not been physical conflict between EEC / EU members - before that date whether it was the rest versus Germany, France versus Germany or UK, or the UK versus just about everyone, there was. As I believe Churchill said "jaw-jaw is better than war-war" Apologies if the quote or source is wrong. The EU ensures jaw-jaw prevails over war-war
The EU budget is imbalanced and wrong, many in Europe would agree (Pres. Chirac excepted!) and until something is done about it, the UK is more than justified in holding on to the rebate.
Whether we like it or not, the UK does have more than it's fair share of xenophobes - some populate these boards. I choose not to be one. Is there a law against that? Is it somehow unpatriotic to be in favour of being part of Europe? It's a very sad world if thats what it's come to.
17th Jun 2005, 16:49
Few here have said they are in favour of leaving the EU completely, so you are pushing out more misinformation suggesting we are more extreme than UKIP!
You are then still trying to justify your previous misdirection. As I said to Kaos, Notts do you seriously think that there would have been war between liberal democracies in Western Europe had it not been for the EU? I would put it forward that to suggest it was ever a significant probability is ridiculous.
Look at Greece and Turkey; neither especially liberal, although both basically democratic, for much of the time since 1945 neither in the EU. They have a long history of beligerance. They provoked one another in the early 70s over Cyprus - yet neither went to war. War in Europe has been out of fashion since 1945, everyone was too tired of it, no-one could afford it.
Mature democracies very very rarely fight one another - I cannot think of a single case off the top of my head, certainly not a major war.
The EU ensures "Jaw-Jaw" has priority over anything constructive! Priority over war even when war was justified (Balkans).
There is nothing unpatriotic about wanting to be part of Europe. There is also, however, nothing xenophobic about having reasoned doubts about Europe Union! On the other hand no-one here has suggested you are unpatriotic as far as I recall (correct me if I am wrong) whereas you grumpily throw around the xenophobe accusation!
Even someone who wishes to leave the EU may well not be xenophobic, there are very well-established, reasoned arguments for doing so. I happen to be in favour of a looser union, as, I believe, are most people in the EU. Unfortunately the people who right the treaties insist on putting the words "ever closer union" in each one without asking us!
17th Jun 2005, 17:06
Clowns, I wish for once you could actually read my message instead of only looking at it.
True, Kaos, but do you actually believe that without the EU war would have happened between France and Germany? I credited you with more intelligence than that. I clearly mentioned in my message: "You have to see that in the light of those years just after the WW2." Hindsight is always 20/20. In the 50's nobody could have known what will happen the next 50 years. When the Great War ended nobody could have predicted it would happen again, and worse. All they knew then was 50 years of war between France and Germany.
Why do 24 members give money to France, when it is doing so well? Why do 24 members give to Ireland when it is doing so well? Why do 24 members give to Luxembourg when it is doing so well? Need I carry on? See my disclaimer...
So here we have some heads of state holding Europe in a deadlock because nobody wants to give away their candy they stole from other children, accusing each other that he has more, thereby showing their their voters that they have no strategy at all to address their concerns and hope. Compromise is neither a dirty word nor a dereliction of the national interest.
It's not arbitary, it's pure cash. At one hand the UK codemns the French for the CAP at the other hand UK jealously guards the rebate. Pot and kettle....
17th Jun 2005, 17:25
I was under the impression that many did indeed predict what would happen after the First World War,they pointed out the punitive reparations demanded(mostly by the French by the way) of Germany, would result in having to do it ll again within a generation.
According to the commentators here it looks like Chirac is the one being isolated,and a few other countries are begining to look askance at the CAP and the advantages France gains from same.
17th Jun 2005, 23:30
In other words you agree with me: the EU has not kept the peace, this was not needed in absence of any threat to the peace (the threat from Warpac forces being faced down by NATO). It is, I suggest, you that does not read well. The intention may have been to keep the peace, and I am quite aware that this was the case, my complaint is attributing this as an achievement.
I would also agree to a removal of the UK's abatement (rebate is not the word used in the agreement, nor is it accurate) if the CAP were put on a sensible footing. It would then truly be obsolete. Without that then it must remain.
The UK is perfectly happy to negotiate the abatement, alongside negotiation of the CAP. I think you will find that it is France that refuses to do the latter, and is leading calls for a unilateral reduction in the abatement. Therefore the UK is happy to compromise, a policy by the way with cross-party support. Many other nations agree with that position. It is France that is unwilling to compromise.
The only pot calling the kettle black is France, petulant to the end, disingenuously attacking the abatement trying to fool people like those here as to its purpose. It is, and always has been, fundamentally linked to the rest of the EU budget; let it all be negociated or none.
18th Jun 2005, 00:26
Oh dear! tsk tsk tsk!! tha's truble in't EU mill tonight Enoch , ones heart goes out to em.
Say what you like about our Tone, he is dammed good in press conferences.
18th Jun 2005, 10:19
May be itsn't time for affirmation, but for questions:
Do we need Europe and why?
How should contributions be calculated?
Do we need agricultural policy, industrial policy, research policy, education policy, foreign affair policy, defense policy.....?
Can we reach these goals, or part of it with 25 EU members states or more (or part of it) and when?
Do we need special funds to allow improving economy and social situation in less advanced contries in Europe?
Can we make all these choices without democratic discussion refusing to limit it to the political circles bound to satisfy lobbies in Bruxelles and nationalist voters at home?
Debate for rebate could be spared.......if we answer these question first.
18th Jun 2005, 11:00
On a lighter, and probably just as relevant/accurate note:
Jim Hacker: "Europe is a community of nations, dedicated towards one goal."
Sir Humphrey: "Oh, ha ha ha."
Jim Hacker: "May we share the joke, Humphrey?"
Sir Humphrey: "Oh Minister, let's look at this objectively. It's a game played for national interests, it always was. Why do you suppose we went into it?"
Jim Hacker: "To strengthen the brotherhood of Free Western nations."
Sir Humphrey: "Oh really. We went in to screw the French by splitting them off from the Germans."
Jim Hacker: "So why did the French go into it then?"
Sir Humphrey: "Well, to protect their inefficient farmers from commercial competition."
Jim Hacker: "That certainly doesn't apply to the Germans."
Sir Humphrey: "No no, they went in to cleanse themselves of genocide and apply for readmission to the human race."
Jim Hacker: "I never heard such appalling cynicism. At least the small nations didn't go into it for selfish reasons."
Sir Humphrey: "Oh really? Luxembourg is in it for the perks; the capital of the EEC, all that foreign money pouring in."
Jim Hacker: "Very sensible central location."
Sir Humphrey: "With the administration in Brussels and the Parliament in Strasbourg? Minister, it's like having the House of Commons in Swindon and the Civil Service in Kettering."
The german elections in the autumn may prove to be a major turning point in the european debate. If Gerhard Schroeder fails to get re-elected, as is thought may be the case, then the new chancellor would be Angela Merkel, who has similar views to our own PM on matters Europe. Now that has got to be worrying Jacques Chirac.
18th Jun 2005, 12:09
Do we need special funds to allow improving economy and social situation in less advanced contries in Europe?
That would probably be the worst thing you could do to them. They are the ones making their economy grow. You should let them build their economic resources for the future less advanced countries of the EU, (comme La France, peut-etre?).
If you can refrain from burdening them with your welfare state, intrusive rule-making, and taxes, it will remain Printemps en Prague, toujours.
18th Jun 2005, 13:17
The CAP was reformed in 2003 with a new agreement. The CAP expenditure is now frozen ( in real terms) until 2013.
All members voted for this new agreement, including Britain.
Agriculture minister Margaret Beckett welcomed the agreement saying " the EU has moved substantially"
Since the British rebate, or abatement if you like, seems to be inextricably linked to the CAP, should it not also have been frozen at the same time? Or are people just being a tad faux-naïf....
Of the EU15, 11 are net contributors. If seen as contributions per capita, the UK is the 6th largest net contributor while the 5 largest all hand over 2 to 3 times more than the UK.
But then, this is not about money, but two countries who can't stomach the idea that one might get slightly more than the other.
Very childish, but very predictable.
18th Jun 2005, 14:01
Some real figures quoted last night on news night, taking into account all monies payed into and handed back from ,the EU overall it costs each UK citizen 31 pounds a year, it costs each French citizen 21 pounds a year.
The CAP was reformed in 2003 with a new agreement. The CAP expenditure is now frozen ( in real terms) until 2013.
Really? And there was me thinking that the Franco-German stitch-up, sorry "agreement" stated that the CAP was to increase by 1% (but excluding rural development) every year.
In addition to the CAP expenditures, the Commission has a new budget item, "Preservation and Management of Natural Resources" of which 20% has been committed to restructuring in agriculture.
This also does not mean what you may think it means. As part of the deal they axed most environmentally friendly subsidies (that help support practices such as methods that help preserve wildlife and improve animal welfare). The restructing in agriculture budget is now directed to sustaining the livelihoods of smaller farmers.
Which leads us neatly back to the French.......
18th Jun 2005, 18:09
Blair agreed to the new CAP agreement with the tacit understanding that the British rebate would remain and increase in line with the overall size of the EU budget.
For the French to now turn around and say, "our part of this deal is sacrosanct, and yours isn't", and to somewhat paint the UK as the difficult child of Europe bearing in mind the "non" a few weeks ago, is unsporting to say the least...
18th Jun 2005, 18:58
Forget it,the whole thing is a farago devised by Chirac, to try and take attention away from the fact that his own people have told him to feck off in no uncertain terms, well its backfired on the tosser,so buggah him and the horse he rode in on,well done Tone.
The next EU headache will be countries pulling out of the Euro and returning to their own currency.
Bring it on.
18th Jun 2005, 19:52
Perhaps, ORAC, you are confused by by the economic term 'real terms', but expenditures will be frozen. This was, I believe, even a part of Agenda 2000.
Rural delevopment has always been a part of CAP. It is in fact know as the 2nd pillar of the CAP.
Also, as part of the CAP reform, farmers must meet a certain number of statutory enviromental, public and animal health and animal welfare standards in order to recieve grants and subsidies. So much for axing most environmentally friendly subsidies
The Franco-German stitch-up :rolleyes: , as you call it, was, as already mentioned, agreed upon by all 15 member states.
Despite saying at the time that "The agreement today delivers what we wanted - real change" and "This is a good outcome - We have met our main objectives" the British government now wants to renegotiate the deal even before it is fully implemented. A move that Britain's National Farmers' Union has called dangerous.
It is no wonder that there are mutterings of the British negotiating in bad faith, both when it comes to the CAP but also the recent budget. I believe the word used by the EU President was "Embarrassing"
Clarence, you dance so well. Perhaps you should take up ballet?
You said, Of the 25 nations in the EU, 24 believe that the rebate should be dropped.
Spain, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands voted against, Denmark and Italy abstained.
No doubt I am confused about the political term "vote". If so, if you listen to the president of the commission, I share the same confusion as the french and the Dutch......
18th Jun 2005, 21:36
You know you're doing something right when Chirac starts insulting you.
Pity Chirac and Schroeder are no longer worth the bother as I would like to see Blair mop the floor with them when UK takes the rotating presidency.
It's going to be fun to watch, nevertheless. Kudos to UK for standing up to them!
18th Jun 2005, 21:49
Here on PPRune, I don't see many people without a nationalist attitude regarding Europe.
If you add those for which the model of economy is to destroy welfare state (thank you Ben that's you!), I don't see how we could have a productive discussion about the future of Europe.
18th Jun 2005, 21:59
I'm not totally opposed to welfare. I like the US model of limiting the dole to five years in a lifetime for the able. It has worked magnificently!
And the pension, layoff and other worker provisions in your economy are not sustainable, especially with a shrinking population. You are going to have to deal with this or continue to decline economically. Not because I say so, but because that invisible iron hand of economics will force you to.
Enough of Europe has been suckered into socialism and it isn't viable; never has been.
19th Jun 2005, 22:12
"shrinking population" is not our lot.
I know you'll say "Doesn't count, it's because of immigrants coming in and making a number of babies!"
But here they are!
And my word is:
"Enough of Europe has been sucked into financial gains, and it's useless"
19th Jun 2005, 22:16
In other words you agree with me: the EU has not kept the peace Naughty, naughty clowns. Not only don't you read my messages, now you're even starting to answer on my behalf. Evidently it's no use to continue this discussion. :rolleyes:
What better proof is this EU summit; the last 200 years these exchanges were decided on a battlefield instead of an office building.
This summit was a disgrace for the heads of state, politics and Europe. Shame on them from those who they represent. :yuk:
20th Jun 2005, 09:01
Forgive me for crediting you with sense, but did you not mean that in hindsight there was never any likelihood of war between states that were members of the EU or its precursor organisations? I assumed that was what you meant when you said "Hindsight is always 20/20. In the 50's nobody could have known what will happen the next 50 years". If it is not, I challenge you to justify where and why war was likely. I would suggest that what finally made war in the West impossible was the challenge from the East, drawing us into a defensive cohesion under NATO, and it was the latter that prevented East/West conflict.
Other factors included the broad destruction caused by WWII and most importantly a more sensible settlement with Germany including setting up democratic institutions than Versaille and the Marshall plan that recreated prosperity in Europe. Prosperity allied with democracy prevents war. Can you think of two mature democracies ever having gone to war with each other?
Unless you can justify war as having been otherwise inevitable, or at least very likely, then you cannot credit the EU with preventing what would never have happend without it!
"...these exchanges..." would never have happened without the EU! The point of contention is the structure of the organisation and bullying between members. It was a disgrace because the EU is not yet mature, it is not ready for the responsibilities our governments have vested in it. It developed not out of a natural progression to closer union but out of an arrogant assumption of those at the centre of the project that they should decide the fate of Europe. Like Yugoslavia it is a fake union, and therefore doomed to produce such disputes and, if not curtailed, further disagreements that eventually could lead to much more concrete repercussions, even civil war if the technocrats have their say and the Union becomes a state.
Why the complaint that the CAP will be frozen in real terms? Is there any reason for your implied assumption that it should increase in real terms, and therefore France get more each year?
20th Jun 2005, 13:15
Other factors included the broad destruction caused by WWII and most importantly a more sensible settlement with Germany including setting up democratic institutions And that's exactly the reason why the ECSC was founded to pool steel and coal recourses thus preventing another European war. That was even before Germany joined NATO in 1955. Seeing Kohl and Mitterand standing hand in hand it proved that it worked ever since their wars started in 1870. Comparing the EU with Yugoslavia is comparing apples with oranges, even you should know that.
A deal could have been worked out in Brussels, if Blair and Chirac hadn’t been caught in a cross-channel polemic accompanied by tabloid head lines. Blair for being on his usual maniacal messianic missions and Chirac frantically busy diverting the attention from his Waterloo. Blair dismissed a late, but in normal circumstances workable offer not to freeze the rebate, or limit it in timescale, but rather the money going to structural funds for the new countries joining the EU would be taken out of the equation, a policy that is backed by the UK.
In the face of the Europe voters (and the whole world) European leaders succeeded in making a complete fool of themselves by sticking to their own agenda, including Eurofederalist Juncker, who honestly thinks European voters are not worth his European Dream, trying to wring out a deal everybody knew it would fail, in order to make his presidency a success and showing the EU is still functioning as it should.
Knowing the deep differencies this summit should postponed the Budget talks and should have been used for diplomatic negotiations in order to see what could be done to agree upon the 2006 Budget. Instead of that the summit has been used by EU heads of state each for their own agenda thereby giving all the wrong signals to the European voters. Shame on you, shame on you for such a childish and narrow-minded behaviour. It’s time real Statesman with vision take over the helm and show Europe how to cope with the future globalisation.
PS I read somewhere that Juncker is going to boycot Blairs EU speach. What an utter rubbish! This man should be removed from all Eurpean duties :yuk:
20th Jun 2005, 14:15
But that is completely irrelevant, Kaos!
I am quite aware that part of the reason for forming the precursor organisations to the EU was to prevent future war in Europe, have been since studying it at Dartmouth in our history classes. However the EU cannot take credit for having done so, as no war would have happened even without these organisations! They cannot be credited with having prevented something that was, with hindsight, not going to happen anyway, although one can credit the founders with a good plan, them not having hindsight available.
I strongly agree with pretty much all the rest of what you say, except have caution about your putative "real statesman". I think Europe needs calming a little, and too many real statesmen drag the world along with their vision. If that is what the world needs it is great, if their vision is further integration I would balk.
The EU cannot yet be compared with Yugoslavia. I was projecting into a future of "ever closer union", a union that is false, is commanded from above by socialist utopians rather than a natural political progression or the desire of the people. If that gets to the level of statehood then it can very much be compared with Yugoslavia.
Flip Flop Flyer
21st Jun 2005, 10:05
Having spent some time educating myself on the EU budget, I've reached the conclusion that Chirac may very well be correct, and that it is high time the UK rebate was pulled.
Historically, the reason for the UK rebate was their relatively small agricultural sector, and thus they would benefit little from the CAP. So the rest of the EU is paying for the UK not to have a very large agricultural sector.
The EU generates 73% of it's finances from membership contribution, with the remainder being made up of primarily VAT income. In 2004 the total income was just short of 1.000 Billion Euros.
The membership contribution is generally set to around 1% of each nations GDP. The nations contributing most on a per capita basis are, in descending order: Holland, Sweden, Germany, England, Austria, Denmark and France. Yes, that's right - France is a net contributor.
The EU expenses can roughly be broken down as follows (In billion Euros):
CAP: 363 (50%)
Regional aid: 240 (32%)
Adminstration: 53 (7%)
Others: 53 (7%)
The nations receving the majority of the funds are those who are doing worse than the average (Portugal to mention one) and those with a large and largely inefficient agricultural sector (France). Without a revision to the CAP, the new EU members may become massive future drains on the EU budget.
The UK Rebate
The main principle behind the budget is solidarity. The British, however, are an exception to this principle. The UK has a relatively modest agricultural sector, and PM Thatcher successfully fought a rebate in 1984 as they were not satisfied paying more than they got. (Personal comment here: Fair enough in 1984 when the UK economy was not looking too good. In this day and age, however, where the UK is the economical Tiger of the EU that hardly seems fair anymore). The rebate consitutes 1/3 of the UK contribution. This year, the rebate is worth around 4.5 Billion Euro. In the course of the next 7 years, as the EU budget is set to increase, the UK rebate will double to around 9 Billion Euro.
Now ask yourself: Where is the money best spent? To bolster an economy that is already doing splendid or to support the new EU members, just like we did with Spain, Portugal and Ireland? I find it exceedingly arrogant for the UK to insist on keeping the rebate and, effectively, have the less fortunate nations cover the balance. For instance, the 10 new EU members (who hardly have the same financial capabilities as the UK whichever way you calculate it) will contribute with 500 Million Euro's per year to cover the UK rebate.
To my mind the UK needs to fall in line and play by the same rule book as the rest of us. They're rightfully very proud of the way the UK economy has been going for the last decade. Well, time then to put your money where you mouth is and start showing a bit of solidarity.
If it was to contribute to structural funds for the new members I think you would there would be no problem, but not to further subsidise inefficient agriculture in the core members.
Tony offered up the UK rebate as long as the CAP was also discussed, Chirac said no.
21st Jun 2005, 11:07
FFF, the UK does not get 1/3 of its contribution as a rebate, it gets 2/3 of its NET contribution back so we will always be net contributers.
In 2003 Frace contributed net €1.7bn and the UK contributed net €3.8bn, without the rebate the UK would have contributed €9bn.
21st Jun 2005, 11:11
In a more perfect world, the question of subsidies should be internal to an entity no higher than the national body politic. That is to say, if France sees it as in her interest to subsidize her farmers, she should be free to do so. But it was wrong for the EU to assume the mantle for making those decisions.
As one generally opposed to subsidies, as they inherently are inefficient, I can understand a nation's desire to try to mainain self-sufficiency in criticial commodities. When the subsidy works to intentionally destroy the infrastructure of another nation's production of the same commodity, it becomes more serious and may need to be addressed supranationally.
For example, I see US energy self-sufficiency as a strategic national interest, therefore, would support subsidizing our energy infrastructure to attain it. Agricultural self-sufficiency could be seen in the same light. But I could never ask Canada or Mexico to help the US pay for that self-sufficiency. And if the US energy industry, through subsidies, became so strong as to be able to lay waste the Mexican or Chinese or Iranian energy infrastructure, the subsidy is too large.
Similarly, if China determined to sell America $4,000 automobiles, selling them at a loss in order to destroy our industry by market share dominance, hence revenue starvation, it would be within my national purview to close my market if I felt my auto industry to be critical. If China, however, can make cars and sell them profitably at $4,000, US resources would be better utilized finding their own competitive advantage, say building tractors or growing wheat, or else endeavor to bring its cost of automobile production down to a more competitive level so it, too, could sell automobiles in a market with $4,000 cars from China.
There are costs to subsidies other than the direct grant. You get inefficiencies. A good illustration is the US sugar industry. Through artificial price supports, the sugar growers are doing just great, but our candy and confection companies are all moving offshore as the price of sugar, a key cost component, in the US is making those industries non-competitive. The overall result of the subsidy policy is negative.
Flip Flop Flyer
21st Jun 2005, 13:07
Fully agree, the CAP needs a serious revision and should, to my mind, only be applicable to the new member states for a fixed duration of time while they modernize their agricultural industry.
The problem Chirac has is the same as every other politician; their main aim is to secure re-election or that power remains within their party. Since the French farmers are a highly vocal and visible group, and has a great deal of influence on French politics, Chirac and his party would not survive the next elections if they advocated a CAP revision that would see French farmers at a disadvantage.
I suppose Tony Blair is in much the same position, with the added ingredient of good old English/French rivalry thrown in for good measure. Let's not forget the 10+ millions who get their information from the wonderful UK tabloids, and we all know that they are hardly a beacon of fair and balanced reporting (thanks Fox News). Alas, if Tony caved in on the rebate without securing a CAP concession from the French, he and Labour would be toast.
However, I read on the news today that Tony Blair, once the UK take over the EU chair, may cave in on the rebate if it can be tied to CAP revisions. A very reasonable idea; expect the French farmers to throw toys out of pram and organize blockades of the Chunnel.
You are absolutely correct in your way of presenting the facts; I was merely trying to get the message across in a slightly simpler format. At the end of the day, it's the same difference anyway.
In a perfect world, only sectors with a direct impact on national security would be allowed to recive subsidies, and only to cover domestic requirements; i.e. no subsidies that would allow you to dump price below your, unsubsidised, competitor. Or rather, that is the simple view which may, or may not, work in real life. Nations have to make a cost/benefit analysis of the situation and determine whether the savings of cutting all subsidies to, say, farmers would outweigh the lack of tax income and increased social costs. This clearly puts many EU nations at a disadvantage, since we have much higher standards for social support than the world in general, and Asia in particular. I don't particularly fancy lowering our social standards that previous generations fought so hard for, but neither will I silently accept that an entire industry is living off the back of my tax payment, selling their products below cost to keep foreign products out.
There is no simple solution to this problem, which is why we need someone with brains, vision and leadership potential to hammer out a deal that'll work for all of us. Sadly, that ain't me. If it was, you can bet the castle that I wouldn't be sat here prooning!
21st Jun 2005, 15:05
Are you really suggesting that those countries voted against the budget, because they wanted the UK's rebate to remain.
Now, I could start out with saying that you obviously haven't read my post. Words that shouldn't sound to unfamiliar to you.
I wasn't complaining or implying anything. I was merely stating fact.
But then you knew that already.
21st Jun 2005, 15:33
Remember, everyone, that if the abatement was cancelled it is likely that the UK support for the EU would dip even further. Support for withdrawal could reach a critical level where, in the end, we could leave the EU. That would harm the rest of Europe at least as much as it would harm the UK, and they wouldn't get the benefits the UK would have from withdrawal.
Well if it is not a complaint then it is irrelevant to the discussion. Hence my assumption that it was a complaint, as I tend to assume that points are relevant if there is any doubt.
The abatement is not an exception to solidarity, nor does it have anything to do with the UK's relative wealth. Its purpose is to allow the UK solidarity, as otherwise we would be relatively disadvantaged.
National wealth is taken into account when deciding contributions, not receipts and grants. The CAP was tailored to give money to France in particular, by aiming at small-scale, inefficient agriculture in general, common in France. This leads to a bias against the UK, addressed by the abatement. If this were renegociated fairly, then the abatement should also be renegociated.
Where is the money best spent? On militant French farmers? In wealthy Luxembourg, not currently a net contributor, or if it is not so much per capita as the UK? In Ireland with it's economy in surge, again receiving more from the EU than the nation pays?
The abatement is structured to keep the UK a net contributor. I think it is one of only 2 countries that has always been so (Germany of course being the other).
21st Jun 2005, 15:44
Well Send Clowns, I can see why you would want to dismiss the fact that CAP expenditures are frozen untill 2013 as irrelevant. Especially since the main, or is it the only, argument for the rebate is that the UK recieves relatively little from the CAP.
Since one is now frozen, why should the other not be?
I have yet to see an answer to that question.
Clarence, they voted against it.
Unlike certain EU functionaries, I am not in the habit of explaining why a NO vote doesn't really mean NO..... :p
21st Jun 2005, 16:33
The abatement will only increase if UK net contribution increases. It will only reduce the increase of UK's net contribution, not reduce the contribution or even freeze it. Therefore if the abatement increases it still means that the UK is worse off! Since we already contribute more than certain countries with higher per capita GDPs, we are being treated unfairly, rather than being given too much benefit.
The fact of the CAP's freezing is irrelevant. That was done under the assumption that there would be no change to the abatement. It was agreed by all countries, including France. There is no formal, direct link between the CAP and the abatement. However if you wish to make a link, why should one be renegociated and not the other? Our government, our opposition politicians and most Brits including I would all be happy with a combined renegociation of the whole budget, including the CAP and abatement.
22nd Jun 2005, 09:52
Talking about CAP (and Africa)
Lord de Ramsey, British landowner: £500,000 from CAP adds to £34m family fortune
John Fellowes, the fourth Lord de Ramsey, lives in an 18th-century manor house among 7,000 acres of prime farmland in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire worth £34m.
His family have been draining and farming the fens since the middle of the 17th century, and have grown rich off the land.
Like his father, he has been president of the Country Landowners' Association and was also head of the Environment Agency, an appointment made by his friend John Major when he was Prime Minister.
Lord de Ramsey was the recipient of more than £500,000 from the Common Agriculture Policy in 2003-2004, in subsidies for the crops grown on the two farms he owns and another in which he has a half share.
He also benefits substantially from the EU sugar regime, which guarantees the price of sugar beet that he grows on his land, and prevents cheaper imports from outside the member states.
Inancio Albano, Mozambican cane-cutter: 'Things are difficult, but I am glad to have a job'
Inancio Albano, 25, considers himself one of the lucky ones in the area of north-east Mozambique where he lives, despite leaving school at 14 to work long days cutting sugar cane to support his parents and four younger brothers.
While the work is hard and he earns less than £300 a year, he says that at least he has a job.
Across the river from his town of Marrameo is Luabo, where the sugar mill isderelict. It closed during the civil war, and while people in Luabo are desperate for it to reopen and provide jobs, it remains closed, partly because of the EU sugar regime. Despite having higher yields and lower production costs, Mozambique cannot sell its sugar within the EU because of the huge import duties imposed on most of its products.
It is also disadvantaged because EU companies are given generous export refunds, allowing them to dump more than five million tons of sugar outside its borders each year.
* £1.34bn: amount EU pays in sugar subsidies every year
* £120m: amount paid to Tate and Lyle in export refunds in 2003-04
* 300 per cent: subsidy paid on EU sugar (it spends €3.3 on every euro of sugar it exports)
* €64: amount every household in the EU pays a year to support the sugar regime
* Two-thirds: number of people in Mozambique living on less than $2 a day
* 1.8 million: number of people in Mozambique with HIV and Aids
* 38: life expectancy in Mozambique
* 20,000: number of jobs that could be created in Mozambique if sugar trade distortions were scrapped
22nd Jun 2005, 11:11
The budget may be frozen but our contribution certainly isn't. Half of our money goes on the CAP which itself goes to anyone with a pot plant in their back yard. Interesting that foreign farmers are treated to our money when our own farmers suffer a boerwar....
Whichever way you paint it Britain is still giving money away hand over fist and getting sod all for it, even with the rebate!
Amazing that 7% of the budget goes on 'administration'. Another 7% on 'other', which one assumes to mean bribes.
Surely it would be more efficient merely to scrap our contribution altogether, re-allocating it to the projects and groups which currently receive EU funding and adding some of the remainder to our aid budget. We could then target the aid ourselves and on far less than 7% adminisration costs. Prolly save at least 1/2 to 1 Billion a year..
Be a good way to cut out the bungling, the bereaucracy, the corruption and the arguments....
22nd Jun 2005, 13:10
Capt.KAOS, shhhhh! What the landed gentry around Europe get out of the CAP, National Trust and its equivalents etc. are "the price to be paid" in order that mere mortals get the chance of managing affairs. Cut them off, and they'd have us back in serfdom double-quick... :uhoh: