Friday, December 02, 2005

The British EU Budget Rebate

So. Tony Blair has finally given in on the EU Budget Rebate issue, much to the contempt of Tories and Euroceptics, who have been screaming their heads off calling him incompetent and a traitor. It is not a total concession to those who wish the rebate done away with: a cut of up to 15% is what is expected at this stage, just enough to be seen as a fair partner in the funding of the European Union's enlargement.
Whilst Britain still has every right to claim that the Rebate and the Common Agricultural Policy are intrinsically related and that you cannot rethink one without rethinking the other, it would undoubtedly be unfair if the Rebate was left completely unchanged during the EU enlargement: it would make Britain go from being the EU's second largest net contributor to the second lowest.
I think that it is a shame that the Common Agricultural Policy is not being discussed as passionately as the Rebate, though, and I sincerely do hope that today's partial concession is not perceived as a defeat in the battle for its reform. It is truly absurd that in this day and age agriculture still takes up 46% of the EU budget. It is revolting to think that this has meant that there has been enough money around to subsidize surplus production leading to waste ! In a world where there are people dying of hunger everyday this is truly shocking. As long as the Common Agricultural Policy remains as is, developing countries around the world won't stand a chance of being able to sucessfully export their agricultural produce to Europe. The poor will remain poor. The rich will become richer.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I agree with your thoughts about the rebate and the CAP - hopefully tomorrow's press and, later, the Opposition, will have something to say about the latter.