The emissions racket
The VAT fraud from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which allows polluting companies to buy the right to pollute from less polluting ones, has caused the loss of about 5 billion euros in the past 18 months. In some countries up to 90 per cent of the whole market is estimated to be fraudulent. Still, it’s good business.
The ETS may have played a role in the closure of the Corus Redcar steel plant, part of Tata Group Europe. Closing the plant will “save” over 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, worth up to £200 million a year at expected ETS market levels. In fact, it will save none. By taking production to India and cutting emissions there to the level currently produced by Redcar, Tata will make another £200 million a year from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. That’s £400 million a year up to 2012 on top of extra profits from India’s lower production costs.
Keep controls here
Britons are uniquely opposed to European Union powers over immigration according to a recent poll. Asked at what level immigration policy should be decided, 53 per cent of Britons answered “national”, rather than regional or EU. The European average was 28 per cent.
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights became legally binding from 1 December, as the Lisbon Treaty came into force. Article 52 says, “Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union.” The EU can now limit our freedoms in the “general interest”, if the European Court of Justice decides it is “necessary”.
European foreign ministers have found they no longer get to take part in EU summits of heads of state and government. The new EU Foreign Minister, Cathy Ashton, goes in their place. Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force, relations between member states are now considered “domestic policy”.