EU in deep crisis

EU 'in crisis' over talks failure

The EU is in "deep crisis", says its current President Jean Claude Juncker, after budget talks broke down over a bitter row between the UK and France.

France condemned the UK for rejecting a deal to have its EU rebate frozen.

President Jacques Chirac said he "deplored" Britain's "pathetic" desire to "keep the entirety of its cheque".

Britain argued that any deal must be linked to reform of EU farm subsidies - but France, the biggest beneficiary of those subsidies, rejected this.

One compromise offered by Luxembourg was turned down by Britain; another was described by a British official as "even worse".

Afterwards, Luxembourg's leader, Jean Claude Juncker, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency, accused some nations of lacking the political will to reach a settlement.

Diplomats and others, he said, "will tell you that Europe is not in crisis".

"It is in a deep crisis."

His comments were echoed by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who said: "We are in one of the worst political crises Europe has ever seen".

The Brussels summit also ended without any plan to save a proposed constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in recent referendums.

Mr Chirac said Mr Blair tried to "safeguard his entire rebate, and that led other countries to overplay their hand".

"That is a bad result for Europe," he said.

Mr Blair has claimed four or five other nations - among the 25 EU members - supported his decision to reject the deal.

Asked if France and Luxembourg had sought to isolate Britain in the row, Mr Blair replied: "If it was such an attempt, it failed."

There was fighting talk from Mr Blair, says our correspondent Jonny Dymond, and it attracted the undisguised bitterness and hostility of Britain's biggest partners in the EU.

Mr Blair said the British rebate was itself the result of a "distortion of expenditure across the EU" and therefore, "if we remove the rebate, we have to remove the reasons for its existence".

He went on to attack the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), which decides EU farm subsidies, for diverting to agriculture funds that would be better deployed on science, technology and education.

The UK is set to take over the EU presidency at the start of next month.

Britain said it will veto any cut in the 4.4bn euro (£3bn) rebate unless farm subsidies are overhauled, a stance which puts it at loggerheads with France.

French President Jacques Chirac refused to discuss any cut in farm subsidies and says the rebate should "under no circumstances be linked to a reform of farm expenditure".

The BBC's William Horsley in Brussels says the summit descended into a bitter feud about what Europe is for and who should decide its future.

Earlier, the leaders put the EU constitution on hold by abandoning a 2006 deadline for ratification, following the 'No' votes in the French and Dutch referendums on the issue.

The proposed constitution, which needs to be ratified by all 25 member states, is designed to define the future direction of the union and the way it is run.
The full story is here.

I am pleasantly surprised to see Chirac put firmly back in his box. I am not surprised to see that the 'pathetic' French attempts to pull attention away from the 'Non' vote continue. IMHO the reason that the EU is in 'deep crisis' is nothing to do with British intransigence, and everything to do with the deep-seated unease of the French people themselves about their own neo-colonial ruler.

I only hope that Team Tony can deliver the goods - they've pretty much staked out their market stall and any failure whatsoever during his stint as EU 'Fuhrer' will be seized on and exploited ruthlessly.
It is a purely financial problem. The bureaucrats of the commision have been understating the expected expenses of the expansion of the EU to the east, similar to the German Kohl government having been lying about the expenses of the reunification back in 1990.
Now the price becomes visible to everybody and is much higher than expected, because several new members are quite poor and will qualify for structural fonds aid, as well as agracrian subsidies due to being mostly agrarian economies (foremost Poland).
On the other hand there are countries in Western Europe, which were poor in the past and received structural fonds aid, like Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy.
Ireland became a model, Spain is also quite well off and Portuagal and Greece are so-so, but much better than in the past.
The problem is that those countries want to keep this support going, or a least a long transitional period, while the support is slowly withdrawn, but since there is not enough money available, it should be moved from the old countries, which profited from it for the last 20 years to the new ones.

France wants to keep the high agrarian subsidies because the farmers are an important block of voters, while Britain wants to pay as little as possible anymore.
In the past Germany has been defusing such arguments within the EU by opening the cheque book and paying the missing amount from it´s own pockets, just to keep peace in the EU, this also seems to be expected by certain French politicians as a kind of reparations for WW2.
Now Germany has overdone itself with the unification and is in a deep economic crisis. We simply don´t have the money to pay like in the 1980s.

IMO the agrarian subsidies should go back to the national level, and not come from the EU. Surprisingly it was discovered that the former East German collective farms under a new management, with their huge industrial style structure are surprisingly efficient in the production of foodstuffs.

IMO with CAP we are subsidising the lifestyle of small, inefficient family farms. It also doesn´t make us any friends in the Third World, where we dump our overproduction. And the system is too easily cheated.

The structural funds is important, because if we allow to much economic difference in Europe, it will lead to envy and eventually trouble.
But once a country has reached a certain level, the payments should stop.

With the rebate - we pay 4x as much into the EU as the frogs.
Without the rebate - we'd pay 15x as much.

Nuff said. Chirac's trying to make it sound as if we pay zero (Britain's "pathetic" desire to "keep the entirety of its cheque"). Cnut.
Credit to the ten new Eastern European nations, who offered to cut their EU income if it would help sort the budget out.

No credit to Messrs. Chirac, Junckers and Schröder; Chirac's comment about the 'arrogance of several rich countries' at the summit is the height of hypocrisy.

Fortunately, Schröder looks likely to be replaced within the year by this woman (BBC profile), who has said that she thinks the CAP should be reformed before anything is done to the British rebate.

The summit should have centred far more around the fact that the only crisis the EU is really in was created by the French and Dutch electorates voting against the constitution. All this budget fuss is simply Chirac trying to switch blame.

The EU was created post WW II to give the Kraut respectability and to allow the Frog to maintain sum form of Leadership by profitting from German largess.
When the German economy was booming the money was available to bribe the non performers of Europe into playing The Franco/Kraut game.
Then Khol blew it by giving the OstGerman one real mark for one zero mark. There had been nothing to buy in the East, so folk had stacks of usless marks which Herr Khol bought. The German economy has been in bad condition ever since, when it will recover is anyones guess.
The Frog has done nothing about improving its Agriculture, why should they when the can legally steal from all, and the disgracefull deal done back in 2002 between Shroder and Chirac to protect the Farm budget has now cum back to haunt them.
PS I apologize to all for neglecting to celebrate on the board yesterdays aniversary of when the Brit and the Pussian did the biz at WATERLOO.
The historical roots of the European Union lie in the Second World War. The idea of European integration was conceived to prevent such killing and destruction from ever happening again. It was first proposed by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in a speech on 9 May 1950. This date, the "birthday" of what is now the EU, is celebrated annually as Europe Day
The Great European experiment.... If the French and Dutch Votes had been yes, if the rest of Europe followed and the Constitution ratified, would it be re- hashed and voted on again in a few years time, or would Europe be irrevocably tied to the Agreement?

And yet with a NO vote, each country will be bombarded, bribed and buggered into eventually giving in, in the interests of a greater Europe. Once we are in, there will be no going back. No opportunity to vote again. The constitution would be modified without recourse to the people of Europe.

Then I'm off to New Zealand.
From what I recall Jacques Delors pushed to have the EU extended,as his 'last' big project.Giscard was then appointed to oversee a new Constitution,and then Chirac chose to put it to his lot,by referendum.Are all these players not French?
As a UK citizen, born 18 years after the end of WWII, my perspective on “where now Europe?” is hugely informed by 60 years of peace and prosperity, primarily due to NATO and the EU.

But, in my view, the circumstances that gave rise to these incalculable benefits have changed.

The facts on the ground in Europe mean that we no longer have to be bound ever closer to secure ourselves and be self-sufficient in food. The votes against the EU Constitution in France and the Netherlands must be seen for what they are - a signal to the EU leadership that the case for the EU has to be constantly made and that its priorities must change, and constantly adapt, to take account of the World as it is, not as we might want it to be.

It is not anti-European to wish for freer markets, an expanded membership including Turkey, and a wholesale reform of the CAP and the UK rebate. All these things must be done if the EU is to have relevance and impact in the 21st Century.

Expansion of the EU, recognising the primacy of the sovereign state - Yes. Greater political union, and an agenda set by an Old European elite- No.
I hope that none of the other readers of this internationally respected forum (!) think that by my next comment, I actually like or admire the man in question but Gordon Brown gave a very good speech last night on the need for European economic reform.

Link here

I still think that every one of the fckers should be flayed alive and then boiled in pish.

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