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Eurobriefs - The latest from Brussels


Failures united

The European Commission (which has repeatedly failed audit inspection) has called for a pan-European regulator of finance. Lord Turner, chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority (which failed to foresee the crisis), echoed this call, adding that it should be in London.

Same old story

The Common Agricultural Policy adds £400 a year to the food bill of each British family – £10.3 billion a year – and has made food in Britain a fifth more costly. Europe Minister Caroline Flint says, “The CAP does not serve the best interests of farmers or consumers across Europe. We will use the opportunity of the EU budget review, starting later in the year, to argue for the long-term reform that is needed.” But successive governments have been saying the same since we joined the EEC 37 years ago.

Reading problems

In Parliament, Europe Minister Caroline Flint admitted that she had not read all of the Lisbon Treaty. When asked if she had read the part about defence, Ms Flint replied, “I have read some of it but not all of it”. She then added, “I have been briefed on some of it.” As well as calling for the Treaty to be ratified, Flint has also claimed that the Irish voted against it because they ‘misunderstood’ it.

National government? What’s that?

According to Liberal German MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, EU citizens are unaware that most national legislation now originates in Brussels. He said the percentage was 85 per cent in Germany, and even higher in eastern Europe. He added, “People don’t know this because national politicians don’t want them to know. They don’t want to show up their own minor role.”

Lisbon’s tangled web

Listen to Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann: “The fact that we only ratified the new EU Constitution and then the Lisbon Treaty in our parliament is not exactly glowing proof that we were confident that we had popular approval. And now, if we are asked to vote a third time because the Irish will perhaps vote no once again, then we cannot claim that this is what a parliament is authorised to do.”