This morning’s statement was probably the first time I’ve ever found myself with agreeing with everything Cameron said. But I’m not clear on why he couldn’t have said all that without going through all the pantomime of first getting a “deal” from the EU that would benefit us.
“I’ll get us a good deal and then we can stay in.”
“Ok, I failed to get us a good deal but let’s stay in anyway.”
The problem with the EU has always been the weakness of the Parliament relative to the Commission and Council of Ministers.
Yet who appoints the Commissioners and who is in charge of the Council of Ministers? The same politicians who it suits to portray the EU as this off-the-leash rabid monster. It is the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the nation states in charge of the EU, not the other way around. So the EU is the way it is because they want it to be that way.
It would be nice if the EU budget were more transparent but I think the impression the tabloids give us of it being a one-way street is hugely exaggerated.
My old local railway station has just been extensively refurbished and offering disabled access for the first time ever and it was fully funded by the EU. Wales is getting something like $2bn on objective one funding from the EU when to be honest Westminster doesn’t give a shit about them. The have a formula for who qualifies based on economic need while 5 museums in Lancashire close because because Boris Johnson wants to give 30m quid to a private ‘garden bridge’ lobbied for by an old family friend.
I think aside from that though the greatest immediate concern with Brexit is how the UK economy and the European one is balanced. The UK is overly reliant on the financial sector and a massive 90% of financial transactions in the EU filter through London. If they exit the EU a lot of that is at risk, despite pledging their long term future to London in the last week HSBC said if there was Brexit they’s transfer several departments to France. The rest of the EU isn’t going to support any part of the City if they no longer have any obligation to. We’d see a rapid outflow of business and support in the most vital sector of the UK economy where they are world leaders.
This is why the CBI, who are most self interested in the financial aspect, as supporting staying in.
Sounds like the audit of accounts is not quite what it appears to be:
Quoted from there:
Here are the facts:
• The EU budget is always balanced, so there is no debt or deficit.
• The independent European Court of Auditors signed off the European Commission accounts every year for the entire 2007-2013 accounting period.
• The Auditors reported that the European Commission’s accounts were legal, regular and reliable (i.e. accurate).
• For 2013, EU Budgetary spending totalled €148.5 billion representing about 1% of the 28 EU members GDP. (By contrast, the budgets of EU countries represent 49% of GDP on average.)
• The Auditors found that EU revenue was free of ‘material error’.
• The Auditors criticised the error rate of 4.7% of the 2013 Commission’s expenditure. But this ‘error rate’ is specifically not fraud. It relates to expenditure not strictly applied according to EU regulations. Most errors took place at national level by EU member states rather than in Brussels. The goal of the EU is to have an error rate of no more than 2%.
• The EU states that it “claws back” undue payments from the projects or countries at fault. This can bring the average error rate to below 2%.
• Over 95% of all EU expenditure is in line with the rules.
• 94% of the EU budget is actually spent in EU countries on policies and programmes that benefit citizens directly.
By comparison, fraud and error costs the UK Government more than £30bn every year. Fraud alone amounts to £20bn. Nearly £10bn goes missing as a result of administrative errors. Fraud and error losses in the UK are equivalent to more than five per cent of government receipts. This is worse than the EU accounts.
Another source is this:
As to the costs and benefits of membership, there’s this:
I think the most frustrating part of the whole thing to me is that the only reason this is all happening is that the Tories were feeling pressure from UKIP in the run-up to the last general election, so used the promise of a referendum on EU membership to try and bring euro-sceptic voters on-side.
So we’ve now got a situation where the Conservatives have put the country at real risk (and I do think exiting the EU would pose plenty of risks for the UK in future) for a very short-term element of party-political advantage, which probably wasn’t even necessary in the first place given how overblown the threat of UKIP turned out to be.
No it is not that unlikely. Channel 4 news did a video based on polling the other day that showed all those nations (with Northern Ireland most in favour and Wales least) supported the EU more than England (although England was 52% in favour).
It’s also interesting what this would mean to UKIP if the vote is ‘remain’, their raison d’etre is pretty much gone for a generation. Do they just become an anti-immigration party?
To be honest I think dragging in the independence/devolution issues within the UK into the larger EU referendum discussion is a bit of a red herring as they’re separate (albeit potentially related) subjects really. The EU membership is held by the UK, and the decison will be made on a UK-wide basis.
It may well be interesting to see how the different individual nations of the UK vote in the referendum, but I think making that a focus of the run-up to the vote risks being divisive rather than constructive, at a time where divisiveness is quite a dangerous mindset to be fostering.