Saturday, 9 February 2013

The great European budget show

The EU multi-annual budget summit show in Brussels is over. The heroes who worked so hard through the night have returned home.

EU "president" Herman Van Rompuy waxes lyrical about the great achievement:

It has been a lengthy, but successful 24 hours: the European Council has just agreed on the 
next multi-annual budget. And not just any budget. It is a balanced and growth-oriented 
budget for Europe for the rest of the decade. 
It was no easy task: this was our single longest meeting so far in my mandate, but it was 
worth working for this result.

Here are a few of the things Haiku Herman is particularly proud of in the budget:

This budget will allow Europe to keep engaging on vital global issues, such as climate change, nuclear safety, and development aid. 

This is how I read it:
Europe will continue to waste taxpayers' money on dubious, non-existent human caused global warming and on mostly totally useless and counterproductive development aid projects.

this is a budget driven by pressing concerns. The most urgent challenge is unemployment, in particular among the youth. That is why we have set aside €6bn for a new Youth employment initiative. A powerful incentive.

This is my reading:
Unemployment - particularly youth unemployment - is indeed a huge problem in the EU. But it is a problem mainly caused by the senseless policies of Van Rompuy and the rest of the summit "heroes", who should be ashamed of allowing this to happen. The money now "set aside" for a new "Youth employment initiative" will of course not solve anything. It is nothing but window dressing.

Across the board, funding programmes will become simpler and better controlled. In 
today’s economic context, increasing efficiency and reducing costs is also in order for the 
EU administration itself.

My reading:
This is the kind of fancy talk politicians turn to when they want to look good. We have heard this for decades now, without seeing any real improvements.

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