Plans for EU budget without Britain


The Telegraph and EUobserver are reporting that EU officials and diplomats have now begun work on studying the legal and technical feasibility of a budget without the UK.

Sources told this website [EUobserver] they were "aware" that some EU officials and national civil servants were considering an "agreement by 26 or even 25".

Under the EU treaties the multi-annual financial framework requires the consent of all 27 member states as well as the European Parliament. However, agreement on the bloc's annual budget can be reached with a qualified majority on a year-by-year basis.

Cameron's Conservative party hit back with Richard Ashworth, leader of the Tory MEPs, insisting that the UK veto was "a legal reality". He added that EU officials "cannot just wish it away. It would require treaty change."

This position comes about because Mr Cameron has threatened to veto the budget if spending is not frozen at 2011 levels.

EU officials are really like a bunch of spoilt kids always wanting their own way. On the one hand they want many EU states to spend a lot less, like the austerity measures inflicted on Greece, yet on the other hand, they don't feel any moral obligation to reduce their own spending, especially on their allowances and perks.

Remember 'the veto' was a major selling point in the 1975 referendum on remaining in the Common Market.

Five EU countries call for new military structure


The EUobserver is reporting that France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain would like to see the EU form a civilian military structure to plan and conduct missions and operations.

I agree with the UK's view that the EU does not need such an organisation. NATO is the main cooperative defence organisation in our part of the world and has stood the test of time, we don't need an EU duplicate.

I find the the following quotes by the Polish foreign minister, Radek Sikorski interesting,

If the EU wants to become a superpower, and Poland supports this, then we must have the capability to exert influence in our neighbourhood. Sometimes we must use force to back our diplomacy.

He called for an ambitious EU budget for 2014 to 2020 to help with defence co-ordination.

Obviously a good neighbourly attitude and,

Speaking in a separate interview in the UK newspaper The Times also on Thursday, Sikorski blamed British nostalgia for past greatness as a reason why it is pulling back from EU integration and why it wants to cut the EU budget.

He touched on historic sensitivities by describing EU spending as a kind of Marshall plan.

He said Poland and other former Soviet controlled EU countries missed out on the plan, a massive injection of US money to rebuild Europe after World War II, because UK and US leaders at a summit in Yalta in 1945 gave the Soviet Union control of eastern Europe.

We fought Hitler alone, giving you [the UK] valuable time to prepare for fighting. But we did not enjoy freedom after World War II. Because of Yalta, we could not benefit [from the Marshall plan]. European cohesion funds are our Marshall plan for catching up with Europe, he noted.

Sounds like he is an old school communist, with some scores to settle. I don't think the UK and US had much choice in the matter, other than to continue the war by taking on Russia.

Still its nice to know what our fellow Europeans really think, and why the UK should pay for it.

Governments should have no veto on taxation


EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding has been stirring up trouble.

The Expess has a report its usual dramatic style,

BRITAIN should be stripped of the power to veto key European Union financial decisions following the bitter row over the Brussels budget, a senior Eurocrat has said.

Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission, complained that individual nations such as the UK were blocking progress in building the European family.

And she called for Brussels to assume sweeping power to set taxation policy across the entire 27-member EU.

The EUobserver has a more balanced report,

The veto right in the EU council has to be scrapped. Qualified majority voting should be extended to more policy areas, for instance taxation, Reding said during a debate with citizens in Berlin on Saturday (10 November).

During a press conference later, she admitted that her idea, which would require a change to the EU treaty, would be highly controversial for member states like Britain and Ireland, but also for her home country, Luxembourg.

But the veto right is a matter of principle. I believe a big family can make it only if it pulls together and seeks common decisions. If 26 want something and the 27th blocks, it is not right, she said.

Like all big families there comes a time when members decide to leave and go their own way.