Shovelling money into Brussels
Britain’s official net contribution to the EU budget was £9.5 billion in 2012, against £2.9 billion in 2002. Other net contributions bring the current level to £12 billion. Our total net budgetary contribution since joining in 1973 is just under £240 billion (current value). The cumulative balance of payments deficit in trade with other EU members is almost £500 billion.
Eurozone jobless rate stays up
The overall unemployment rate in the EU dropped for the first time in two and a half years, falling from 11 per cent in May to 10.9 per cent in June. But in the eurozone, the unemployment rate is still 12.1 per cent. Youth unemployment rose by 0.1 per cent in both EU and eurozone, to 23.2 per cent and 23.9 per cent respectively.
The Belgian government has adopted new measures to cut its deficit by a further 750 million euros this year and almost 2.4 billion euros next year in order to stick to its EU commitments. In Spain 5,069 companies declared themselves insolvent in the first half of 2013, up more than 22.5 per cent on the same period in 2012. The Irish economy contracted by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the last quarter of 2012, with declines in household spending, investment and exports.
The exodus from Bulgaria
A survey commissioned by the European Parliament has found that more than 80,000 Bulgarians are expected to leave their country permanently with a view to settling in Britain. Bulgarians are paid an average £3.15 per hour. Bulgaria, with just over seven million people, is the poorest country – and one of the most corrupt – in the EU.
About 100,000 Bulgarians already live in Britain – many more than the 30,000 in France or 75,000 in Germany – despite Britain being further away. The number of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in Britain increased by 15 per cent over the past year to a record 112,000. Some 14,000 extra people from Eastern Europe’s states found jobs here last year. ■