Ask a council leader or government bureaucrat about the need to cut spending and chances are they will at least acknowledge that money is tight and that budgets have to be reined in. They may sometimes act like money grows on trees but there is at least now a weary acceptance by politicians from all parties that the waste that still persists in much of government must be cut out.
Yet despite the pressing need to cut spending and consensus over tackling wasteful expenditure, there is still one group demanding yet more taxpayers’ money while everyone else tightens their belts. So who, in an age of austerity, would be deluded enough to think they need more money? Step forward the Eurocrats.
The European Commission has proposed its own budget be increased by nearly 7 per cent. No, that’s not a typo, the ever-expanding Brussels bureaucracy thinks British taxpayers should hand over even more money to fund its largesse. This particularly galling proposal is out of touch with reality for two reasons: we are not making necessary spending cuts at home just so the money saved can then be handed over to politicians on the continent; and it is pure folly to hand cash to an organisation that has proven such a poor custodian of taxpayers’ money in the past.
We have previously highlighted many cases of EU largesse – recent examples include the £40 million EU Parliamentarium or the ongoing debate around the £150 million spent on the EU travelling circus. Yet the European Commission demands even more from taxpayers in member states. It is so obsessed with increasing its domain and spending power that it has missed the point; it doesn’t need more, it needs less. For example, the EU could save a fortune if it scrapped its love of private jets for diplomats who spend half their time on holiday, or better yet axe the entire European External Action Service. That would mean less money wasted duplicating the work of nation states who already have well-established embassies. Money would be saved and Europe’s citizens would not find themselves without access to consular representation abroad. You could spend a lifetime writing about the various ways in which the European bureaucracy could save money by slashing its extravagant waste but one thing is clear: they certainly don’t need any more of it.
So in answer to the Commission’s latest proposals for an extraordinary budget rise Europe should answer with one voice: No, non, nien, ni, nessuno όχι, nie, nincs, ingen.