Sunday, 8 December 2013

The European Union's "vast empire of overseas officed staffed by highly-paid bureaucrats" exposed

A common sight: An EU "ambassador" shaking hands with a dictator.
Michael Arrion, Head of Delegation European Union is here smiling together with Rwanda’s Paul Kagame,
the "darling dictator of the day" according to the New York Times.

The Daily Telegraph has investigated the European Union's "vast empire of overseas offices staffed by highly-paid bureaucrats":

A Telegraph investigation discloses that the EU is operating 140 overseas delegations at an annual cost of more than £420 million.
The delegations – effectively embassies and consulates – help to oversee billions of pounds spent on EU projects around the globe.
The delegations can negotiate in trade and political talks as well as being involved in the EU’s huge overseas aid programme.
The body, called the European External Action Service (EEAS), was established in 2010 as a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty and is headed by Baroness Ashton, a Labour peer and the EU High Representative. The EEAS has 3,417 staff: 1,457 in Brussels and 1,960 in its overseas offices.
Critics accused the EEAS of being wasteful and either duplicating – or even competing with – Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
A Telegraph analysis shows 29 EEAS officials earn a basic salary, excluding benefits, worth £150,000 a year, more than David Cameron as Prime Minister.
With generous benefits added in – such as an expat allowance, household allowance and child allowance – it is estimated that about 500 officials can earn more than the Prime Minister’s basic salary. --
A senior diplomat on a basic salary of up to £114,000 will pay only about 15 per cent in tax.
Official figures supplied by the EEAS show that the largest single delegation is based in Ankara, the Turkish capital, and employs a total of 140 people, including staff and “local agents”.
Last week, the EEAS announced that at the end of the year it was shutting down one of its smallest offices in Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific 10,000 miles from Brussels.
The EU has spent in the region of £80 million there since it first opened an office as long ago as 1984 – prior to the establishment of the EEAS.
The Telegraph can disclose that the EU has funded such projects as a scheme to teach children cricket, costing £130,000, and spent more than a million pounds on wind turbines and biofuel plants that have not been built.
The responsibilities for the Vanuatu office will now be moved to delegations in Papua New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands.
Opponents have called for the EEAS to be dramatically scaled back, pointing out that the UK has a large and well-established network of embassies and consulates of its own.
Lee Rotherham, a former adviser to three Conservative shadow foreign secretaries and author of The EU in a Nutshell, said: “The EEAS is the FCO’s costly doppelganger, competitor, and usurper. Its aim and its unchecked destiny is to edge out the national diplomatic services.
“Naturally, as a creature of Brussels it has inherited its key flaws. This notably includes a lack of awareness that it is spending someone else’s tax money.”  

There is absolute no need for this "empire". The European External Action Service network of "embassies" should be scaled down to a maximum of ten (or even less), and the future of the Entire EEAS should be reconsidered.

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