Andrew Duff says European Council worse than Papal Conclave

February 12, 2013 9:40 AM

Reacting to the deal reached at the European Council on Friday, the President of the UEF, Andrew Duff MEP, concludes that the deal is not fit for purpose. In a statement today (Tuesday) he says:-

"Once again the huge quarrel over such a small amount of money showed the European Union at its worst. Indeed, the row over the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) is almost a caricature of Europe today.

"27 men and women emerge exhausted and exasperated pretending to have triumphed on behalf of their own nation state. The result is they have left the EU without enough money seriously to promote its political objectives at home or abroad. They have not dared to introduce much-needed reform. They have failed to identify economies of scale by pooling effort or eliminating costly duplication. They have clung to past practice, most of it bad.

"The leaders have comprehensively missed the opportunity to increase investment at the European level to off-set the decline of investment at national level. The Commission's proposals to boost Europe's competitiveness have been watered down.

"The European Council has failed even on its own terms. Future spending commitments are now actually programmed to outstrip payments, the cumulative effect of which will be to throw the EU budget into deficit ‑ thereby risking a breach of the Treaty. The idea that this puny MFF can last for seven years is a fiction.

"The Union must now recognise that its financial system, based merely on national contributions, is bust. The inevitable obsession with unanimity and juste retour means that the common interest of all Europe is out of sight. Even the papal conclave votes by qualified majority ‑ and we have to assume that many of the cardinals will be preoccupied by the welfare of the Church as a whole rather than by their own naked self-interest. The conclave of EU leaders last week pales by comparison.

"The Spinelli Group and the UEF will shortly be presenting a new draft treaty which proposes among other things, a new financial and budgetary system. Under our proposals, the Union will have genuine financial autonomy and national treasuries will be relieved of the burden of making direct contributions to the EU budget. Decision making will be fluent, transparent and democratic."