Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




POLITICAL ECONOMY
Walker's World: UK survives EU budget row
by Martin Walker
Vienna (UPI) Nov 26, 2012


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

It came as no surprise that the 27 heads of government of the European Union failed to agree on the bloc's next trillion-euro budget. But it was a surprise that Britain wasn't isolated and found key allies in Germany, Holland and Sweden to support its call for real cuts in planned future spending.

The European media had been filled for weeks with speculation about a Brexit, a British withdrawal from the European Union, partly pushed from Europe and partly pulled by the British.

Under this scenario, the push would come from the eurozone members who want more centralized control over the budget of nation states and over the financial system as a whole. Seeing this as an assault on the City of London, Europe's dominant financial center, the euroskeptic British would then pull Britain further and further from its EU partners until the link finally snapped.

It could still happen but the cleavage now looks both less likely and less immediate. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite her frustration with the lukewarm British approach to Europe, has signaled that she wants the British to remain.

And so she should. A British withdrawal wouldn't only leave the European Union less able to play much of a role on the world stage, it would also rob German of one of its few free-market and free-trading allies in Europe.

More to the point, it would mean that the British would stop pumping some $5 billion a year more into the EU budget than they take out. Germany, which already contributes more than $10 billion a year, would have to make up the lion's share of the consequent hole in EU finances.

Merkel's position also underlined the real and growing strains in the traditional partnership between France and Germany, hitherto the crucial locomotive of the entire European project. Nicolas Sarkozy, the last French president, cleaved so closely to Merkel (a fellow moderate conservative) that the duo was known in EU circles as "Merkozy." The relationship with Sarkozy's successor, the Socialist Francois Hollande, is less warm on both a personal and an ideological level.

Hollande has sought to forge an alliance of southern states with Italy and Spain to counterbalance Germany's growing weight in European affairs. As the crisis over the euro currency grinds on, Hollande has challenged Merkel's insistence on sending cuts and urged more spending to encourage growth. More recently Hollande has been wooing the eastern European states like Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, which like France do well out of the EU farm subsidies fund, to insist that the farm budget not be cut.

The key to this process in the net payments per head into the EU budget. Every man, woman and child in Germany pays about 92 euros a year more to the European Union than they get in return. The French pay 72 euros per head more than they receive, the British 75 euros a head more, the Italians 78 euros more, the Dutch 113 euros more and the Danes and Swedes each pay 117 euros more.

The British would be paying 124 euros more per head were it not for the famous rebate won by Margaret Thatcher 30 years ago, on the reasonable argument that a major food importer like Britain was disproportionately punished under the EU farm budget. The French have never forgiven her nor ever forgotten that rebate and they demand at every EU budget meeting that it be surrendered.

Since EU budgets run for seven years the bloc's last budget crisis was in 2005 when Tony Blair was British prime minister and Jacques Chirac was the French president. Under intense pressure, since at the time Britain's income per head was higher than that of Germany or France, Blair agreed to a reduction in the rebate but only on the firm condition and the sworn promise of Chirac that the swollen EU farm budget would be rationalized, reformed and cut.

Chirac's promises proved almost worthless. The farm bill still consumes about 40 percent of the EU budget, and still leaves the European Union as a major food importer. The figures are usually distorted by the way Europe calculates its import and export bill by putting food and drink together.

In 2010, the European Union exported $9 billion worth of spirits and $8.6 billion worth of wine, which helped produce a modest trade surplus of $11.6 billion on the agriculture (food and drink) account. Adding the income from wines and spirits meant that the deficit on the food account, mainly for animal feed and fish, was disguised. And yet under the bizarre rules of the European Union's farm policy, farmers are paid to leave their land untilled and the union's own fisheries (mostly British) have been overfished close to the point of extinction.

So the British are unlikely to fall for any more French promise on farm reform, just as the French won't give up their relentless attacks on the British rebate. This time, Merkel refused to fall for the French arguments, accepting that the British were right to say that it was absurd of the European Union to demand a real increase in its budget when EU member states were trying to cut their spending.

.


Related Links
The Economy






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





POLITICAL ECONOMY
China manufacturing grows in November: HSBC
Beijing (AFP) Nov 22, 2012
China's manufacturing activity grew in November for the first time in 13 months, HSBC said Thursday, in a further sign of strength in the world's second-largest economy after a marked slowdown. The preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) released by the British banking giant hit 50.4 this month, up from a final 49.5 in October, after 12 consecutive months in negative territory. A re ... read more


POLITICAL ECONOMY
Sandy costs top $42 bn in New York: governor

Haitian president talks quake relief with Pope Benedict XVI

Storm gives New Yorkers new family - each other

Victims of Hurricane Sandy forgotten in Haiti

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Better protection for forging dies

DataWind denies Aakash tablet cheap Chinese import

Scotch tape finds new use as grasping 'smart material'

New structures self-assemble in synchronized dance

POLITICAL ECONOMY
China facing looming water shortages

Brazil state bank to invest $11 billion in Amazon dam

Researchers identify a simple way to precipitate phosphorus from the wastewater of a pulp mill

Warming to shift heavy rainfall patterns in the UK

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Greenland's viking settlers gorged on seals

Ocean currents play a role in predicting extent of Arctic sea ice

Scientists say new signs of global warming in Russian Arctic

Warming Temperatures Will Change Greenland's Face

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Saving Water without Hurting Peach Production

Pear genome provides new insight into breeding improvement and evolutionary trace analysis

Herbivore defense in ferns

Flower power to purge poison and produce platinum

POLITICAL ECONOMY
800 homes flooded as Britain soaked by more heavy rain

USA's ancient hurricane belt and the US-Canada equator

More eruptions tipped as N. Zealand volcano disrupts flights

Rain-battered Britain braces for floods

POLITICAL ECONOMY
DR Congo president sacks chief of land forces

DRC: M23 gains spark fears of wider war

Sudan army confirms it attacked near S. Sudan border

Nigeria to send 600 troops to Mali: defence minister

POLITICAL ECONOMY
A 3-D light switch for the brain

Scientists improve dating of early human settlement

Oldest home in Scotland unearthed

Archaeologists identify spear tips used in hunting a half-million years ago




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement