Giving it away
IT HAS been revealed that in 2010 Britain’s gross contribution to the EU was £18.46 billion, more than 5 per cent up from 2009. Our net contribution is rising even faster. It has risen to £10.3 billion in 2010 from £6.6 billion the year before, when the Labour government gave up our rebate. For £10 billion we could have around 65 new hospitals (£150 million each).
We want a referendum
An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph found that 59 per cent of respondents want a referendum on the EU by the end of the next parliamentary term in 2015 or sooner. And 35 per cent are in favour of a referendum within one year.
The 17 eurozone members have fallen 50 billion short of the EU’s 200 billion euro target contribution to the IMF. Britain and other countries refused to commit the 30 billion euros they were asked for. And 200 billion euros would not be enough anyway. Italy alone needs 300 billion for refinancing this year.
The European Central Bank’s exposure to weaker eurozone economies has now reached 705 billion euros, up from 444 billion euros only six months ago. The reason: the ECB has had to buy government bonds and provide cash for banks to operate.
The European Commission wants to scrap VAT exemptions on children’s clothes, food, travel, books, newspapers and other goods, adding 20 per cent to the cost of those items in Britain.
The EU plans to extend Solvency II, a 2009 Directive on capital requirements for occupational pension schemes allegedly meant to lower their insolvency risk. It is also trying to increase the number of schemes operating across borders, rare at the moment. The new capital requirements could completely kill off Britain’s occupational pensions (something the EU has long had in its sights), costing the funds between £250 and £500 billion and introducing a different model of financing. ■