The EU is living in a fantasyland - and we're paying for it

In a speech earlier this week, Damian Green MP said that Eurosceptics were living a fantasy. Unfortunately, it's the EU that is in fantasyland and we're paying for it

This puzzle just doesn't fit. Time for Brussels to accept it
Rory Broomfield
On 14 December 2012 12:12

In a speech earlier this week, Damian Green MP said that Eurosceptics were living a fantasy. Unfortunately, it's the EU that is in fantasyland and we're paying for it.

A couple of weeks ago The Freedom Association's ‘Better Off Out’ campaign calculated that the UK had spent over £100 billion on membership to the EU so far. Alas, with regulations from the acquis communautaire and beyond, this is just the start.

The EU is changing, however. In announcing “Blueprint for Growth”, the President of the Commission, Jose Barroso, declared that this plan for Economic Monetary Union would be “growth friendly” and “restore confidence”.

Here's the tricky part though. He then went onto say: “we need a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union in order to overcome the crisis of confidence”.

He also said: “it is crucial to stick to our strategy of growth-friendly consolidation; economic reforms and targeted investments. This is the only way to restore confidence and create lasting growth.”

So, there you have it: a deeper and more consolidated union. Plus ça change, you may think.

Thankfully, it seems that this desire for increased eurozone integration has been put on hold, at least for now. Unfortunately, the proposed EMU Blueprint still has “a roadmap” that the EU elites want to follow. Furthermore, it isn't the only place where this increased centralisation and control is continuing. In the recent agreement with the EU Banking Union the EU is due to give direct supervision of up to 200 eurozone lenders to the European Central Bank (ECB), allow the European Banking Authority (EBA) to develop the single rulebook and ensuring convergence and consistency in supervisory practice, and put caps on bank bonuses

Also, despite the aim to establish a single supervisory mechanism, the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, still calls for more European powers on banks.

Isn't this pure fantasy?

Indeed, it seems it. Many pro-EUers are saying that this won't affect the UK. Indeed, think tanks like Open Europe describe this as creating a “two-tier” EU. Well, if that is the case – with more centralisation in one area, using up more resources that the UK won't use – surely it should get a further rebate?

In fact, the UK will carry the consequences of these decisions by the EU.

In pure financial terms the EU's 2013 budget is to rise by 2.9 percent – agreed by majority vote – despite concerns from a whole range of Member states, including the UK, over the EU's spending habits. This won't fall entirely on the UK's shoulders; but it will have to pick up some of the bill.

Added to this, there are the consequences of the EU's dithering and the policies themselves. There is already a record 11.7 percent unemployment, youth unemployment totaling 23.3 percent on average – over 50 percent in some countries – and a collective debt of 87.4 percent of GDP. The result of this is more individuals moving from the EU to the UK – a trend that recent census data revealed has been well established over the past decade.

The free movement of people across Europe isn't the problem though – it's the pressures that too many of one particular demographic going to one area may cause.

The UK is already the most densely populated nation in the EU and, as its economy starts to grow, it offers opportunities that other countries simply cannot – employment. Indeed, the recent unemployment figures show that UK unemployment is falling as private sector jobs hit an all-time high. But with youth unemployment in Spain at over 50 percent, where do you think these multi-lingual people, who cannot get a job, will look for employment? 

The inability to come to a decision is one thing. But the main fantasy is that more centralisation and control will help more jobs, growth, and confidence to be created within the eurozone.

The ideas coming from the EU's “elite” show a fundamental misunderstanding of the basic reasons for why there is a problem in the first place. The inability to step back and change course is astounding and the desire for more power by the EU elites remains undiminished. Barroso's plan is to prescribe more of what has led to the Euro crisis, and it will hurt not just the eurozone but also the rest of the EU.

We have now travelled through the looking glass and – unless the UK leaves – this fantasyland will continue to run. Should that be the case, the people of the UK won't just feel the effects, we'll pay for them too.

Rory Broomfield is Deputy Director at The Freedom Association. He tweets at @rorybroomfield

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