Most of us don’t really know how much it actually costs the UK for membership of the European Union, nor indeed why we pay into the EU the sum we do, eh? The reason for that is because of lack of transparency so it is part hidden, it is difficult to be precise, the figures change every year ,and it has all been compounded by the lies and misleading numbers put out by the present Government in the Referendum, as well as the opposing campaigns, don’t you think?
You should know that in simple terms we pay in an ‘increasing’ gross amount (say in the order of a massive £360 Million a week, no less), get a ‘non-permanent’ discount or so called rebate (of about a quarter now), and get variable & ‘reducing’ EU grants (say less than a third), so basically about HALF of our money paid-in is squirreled away and completely REMOVED from Britain, moreover from our control so we have no say on how it is then used, do we?
That is substantial funding departing by anyone’s imagination, so where does it all go then? Well, into running a totally expensive money wasteful, completely financially unaccountable, false objective focused bureaucracy with no concept of budgetary constraint, for a start (including the idiotic running two parliaments in different countries on alternate weeks opposed by all except France) – and then the remaining rest goes to others of the ‘current’ 27 member counties that the EU favour, or even to some counties outside of the EU (like Croatia before they joined). For over 20 years past the EU didn’t get a clean set of accounts (despite controlling the Auditors) – at least five percent was reported as misspent alone last time.
As more countries (including without doubt Turkey) are allowed in, the demand for more cash to distribute to them for growth and employment will be increasingly intensively – hence the EU’s budget will grow like Topsy, and so will Britain’s contributions, without doubt?
Why do we ‘contribute’ so much then? Well, because the EU is not like a ‘normal’ members club where everyone pays an annual fee to join – the same amount and all members get exactly the same benefits of the club, don’t they? No, in the EU it is quite the opposite difference, as member countries pay-in widely different amounts on a means tested basis – the richer counties pay in the most and the poorer countries pay the least. Then, we have that the economic benefits of being in the EU Club are also absolutely ‘unequal’ – in that case, you might think that those that pay in the most would get the most payback (like 1st class rail passengers get a better more comfortable seat, or the more you pay at a concert the better the view), but you would be stupidly wrong, wouldn’t you? Yep, the rewards dished out are totally unlinked to what was contributed in the first place. The poorer or underdeveloped EU countries get the most support to develop them (a quarter of all the EU’s money goes that way), and that is why they all have been so keen to join (like Poland, Romania, Latvia, Estonia etc), and why populous Turkey with millions below the poverty line, is desperate to be admitted to the Club as well, don’t you think?
A country’s EU’s contribution is primarily based on the size of its economy, so while many pay practically nothing, contrastingly the UK has a strong one so it pays-in more accordingly, and since the UK’s economy continues to produce in comparison with many others, then its membership fee has grown and grown (up three-quarters in half a dozen years or so), and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future – meanwhile the benefits received will continue to decrease [and the UK loses out already on grants BECAUSE of the Rebate].
Moreover, the rebate itself is not secure, far from it, it is not set in stone and there is constant pressure for it to be scrapped or dramatically reduced (particularly from France who pays the most towards it). We will be cannon fodder if the UK votes to Remain, our power will be neutralised, and that will be the starting gun for the full frontal attack on our rebate which is NOT covered by Treaty anyway – so is likely to be gone in 4 years time as it will not be renewed without Britain’s veto (which realistically won’t be applied, will it?). If that time comes we can expect to be donating some twenty thousand million pounds to the EU – are you happy about that, eh?
A substantial amount of the EU’s spend goes on the CAP [common agriculture problem (oops) policy and CFP (common fisheries pickle (oops) policy]. The big beneficiaries of EU grants for farming and fishing are France, Spain, Germany, and Ireland, while the UK gets relatively little, and that won’t go up as the EU’s budget for it all is frozen. The EU used to spend about three-quarters of its budget on the CAP but it is now down, but still around an enormous two-fifths – that is a double-whammy really for the UK as not only are we paying for it, but the CAP raises food prices for all of us – as well as preventing other non-EU counties developing and providing cheaper produce.
[Britain gave-up about half of the original Rebate a decade ago as a ‘trade-off’ for promised significant CAP reform – but we were soundly conned on that one as that never happened, did it?].
The CFP means that what was previously solely UK’s fish is now a ‘common resource’, so the bulk of our fish is now taken and landed by Spanish trawlers and factory ships (some even using UK’s quota), while the cull of British fishing boats has been decimating that sector. Oh yes, the quota regulations have generally produced fish stock recovery, but the British Parliament could equally have achieved that, without us losing our fishing fleet, surely? Back in the 1960s we had the so called Cod wars with Iceland (which we always lost, eh?), but if they are let into the EU and the fish supposedly belongs to all, just don’t expect Iceland to be governed by the CFP – when their livelihood depends on fishing, there is no-way will they allow others into their traditional waters, will they?
Don’t forget of course though that the EU Club confers equal rights to members, so even the tiniest or newest country sits equally at the table. Of course, counties also get to send MEPs to the EU parliament, where they are not allowed to propose new laws but do get to vote on any presented to them by an unelected bureaucracy, but they can’t actually pass any laws though as their decision is subject to a veto by another unelected EU body.
The number of MEPs a country gets is basically determined by its population size – and certainly NOT by its importance, nor even the level of its financial contribution. So when Turkey gets in, they will pay a pittance for membership, and with a substantially bigger population than the UK can have then more MEPs than Britain (to limit the EU parliament’s size, UK’s MEP numbers will have been progressively reduced as the EU’s ‘ever more expansion’ objective is met), and in addition as Turkey as more in need of development, it will receive more grant benefits to boot, eh?
But despite all that the UK MUST be getting something MAJOR back by being in the EU, surely? Well NO. You see, the claimed benefit is that Britain also gets is access to the biggest single market – so how is that working out then? Ah, not so well really. Despite our increasingly massive cash contribution to the EU our export percentage is dropping like a stone, while the other major players’ exports are doing significantly better and are going up and up dramatically. Germany, are kings with 3½ times our exports, the Netherlands double, France 1½ times, Belgium 40% more, Italy 20% more, and even lowly Poland are now doing some sixty-five percent of what we are achieving. There is another double whammy here, as our exports shrink, the imports from the EU swamp them. God why is all that happening to a historically major trading nation? Perhaps the dice is loaded in terms of favouring certain others and not least in respect of the euro currency – is the EU market a significant benefit to the UK or not, eh?
[The 28 EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
Poised to join in further enlargement are ALBANIA, BOSNIA, KOSOVO, ICELAND, MACEDONIA, MONTENEGRO, SERBIA, and TURKEY]