The emissions racket
The EU is proposing a 10-year economic framework, Growth Strategy 2020. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for penalties for member states that fail to reach agreed economic targets, ending national economic sovereignty. The Commission believes the previous growth strategy failed because it was non-binding. New powers under the Lisbon Treaty will correct that.
The carbon racket
The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme granted surplus carbon permits worth 28.6 million euros to oil and gas companies operating in Britain in 2008. These surpluses are essentially free assets that firms like ExxonMobil, Total, Corus and Hanson can sell on to boost short-term profits. The two largest carbon trading exchanges made more than 57 million euros between them in 2009. The EU has lost at least 5 billion euros to carbon-trading VAT fraud in the last 18 months.
The pay racket
MEPs are to receive an extra £32,000 a year, phased in over two years, now that the Lisbon Treaty is in force. A European Parliament official said, “With more power comes more work.” The increase will take the total annual allowance for 2010 to almost £220,000, excluding a tax-free ‘general expenditure allowance’ worth over £44,000, for which no receipts are needed.
The competition racket
A group of banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland, has hired City law firm Clifford Chance to explore a legal challenge to the government’s 50 per cent windfall tax on bonuses, using EU competition law as the basis for the challenge.
Challenge to diktat on power
E.ON Chief Executive Paul Golby has urged the Government to defy the EU and keep open some coal and oil-fired power plants due to close. Under the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive, a number of Britain’s plants would be forced to close by 2015. Golby argues some should remain operational and ready to come online during periods of peak demand.