15 december 2005

Wrong enemy (The Flemish Beerdrinker)

Yes. The EU budget negotiations are painfull to follow. But it’s not because of the British. Why are we picking at Tony Blair so much? He is right you know to draw the attention to the plain fact that taxpayers in other countries are making French farmers rich - in spades:

Three times as many French farmers receive large subsidies from the EU than those of any other country. In total, France receives almost twice as much direct subsidies for its farmers as any other member state, and they are mostly channelled to large farmers rather than traditional small-scale land holders. Despite the huge discrepancies France steadfastly refuses to countenance any reduction in farm subsidies, bringing the EU budget negotiations in Brussels and the World Trade Organisation talks in Hong Kong, both climaxing this week, to the brink of collapse.

Let’s face it. It are the French, and not the British, who do everything they can to protect their own interests, let all the rest be damned. It are the French, and not the British, who are behaving selfishly. All the attention is going to Blair’s refusal to give up the UK rebate, but the French refusal to do something on the massive subsidies to a few big farmers and agro-industrial companies is much much worse. As Abiola Lapite expresses it strongly:

France’s farmers are the parasites of the European Union, subsidy-hungry leeches who do little more than destroy taxpayer value while ruining the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers throughout the rest of the world, yet instead of the British government demanding that they wean themselves off the EU teat, it is the French who have the temerity to insist that Britain and the rest of Europe continue to subsidize this wealthy coterie of rent-seeking layabouts.

If tomorrow we don’t have a budget agreement, nor a free trade agreement we have the French to blame. A rather strong case is emerging to push that country out of the EU so we can built a better, more liberal Europe.

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