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Anti EU Politics Hotting Up.

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Anti EU Politics Hotting Up.

Post  Panda on Sun 4 Nov - 6:33



  1. EU funds spent on Caribbean music festival

The European Union's "structural and cohesion funds" have been spent on questionable schemes including a music festival in the Caribbean.









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The Terra Botanica, a French theme park that received £13 million from EU funds



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The Terre de Blues festival in the Caribbean also gets substantial European funding











By Edward Malnick

9:00PM GMT 03 Nov 2012


14 Comments




Like every European scheme, it is wrapped up in jargon and its name belies its scale.


Every year, Britain gives around £4.2 billion to Brussels for the European Union’s “structural and cohesion funds”.


Money flows back, too – but a much smaller sum, around £1.2 billion a year from the funds for projects in the UK.


Ministers have no say over how the money is spent in Britain, and each scheme has to show the European flag.


Now, concerns are being raised over the funds, and especially how they are spent, after a series of questionable schemes were discovered by The Sunday Telegraph.



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They include a “botanical wonderland” in France, a Biblical-themed garden in Poland, and a music festival in the Caribbean.

Separately, the European Commission has expressed concern about the way the money is being handled and has set up two committees to monitor payments after audits showed “serious weaknesses” in the management of dozens of programmes.

In a report drawn up last year but undisclosed until now, the commission said it “interrupted” payments to 49 of its regional funding programmes in 2010 alone, amounting to £1.73 billion.

“Systemic weaknesses” were identified in the management of projects in Italy, and “serious deficiencies” in the way the vast majority of projects in Spain were run.

Another document said there were “reservations” about 121 programmes across the EU and warned “high risk” payments worth £4.22 billion were made with only limited assurance that projects were being managed properly.

The questionable schemes found by The Sunday Telegraph include the Terra Botanica project, in the Anjou region of western France.

It has received £13 million from the development fund. It includes multiple business centres and a cinema as well as “aquatic zones” and almost 15 acres of gardens.

The EU expects Terra Botanica to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors and revenues of around £17 million a year.

The fund also provides cash to an annual four-day music festival on Marie-Galante, in Guadeloupe, the French group of islands in the Caribbean.

Organisers had hoped Terre de Blues would attract visitors to the island, which has suffered from depopulation and is home to around 12,400 people, but only 10 per cent of its audience came from abroad last year.

The festival, which is intended to help speed up economic development on the island, features a range of musical genres, including R&B, reggae, gospel and jazz. Most of the main artists come from Guadeloupe and other Caribbean islands and the festival is seen by the EU as a “cultural bridge to Africa, the Creole-speaking Americas and Europe”. The EU describes the island as an “outermost region” that requires particular help because of its remote location. It receives from the EU about 40 per cent of its annual costs.

A further £181,521 was pledged to the organisers of Una Voce per Padre Pio, a charity concert held in Pietrelcina in Campania, southern Italy, and transmitted on national television. The competition, named after a local saint, featured well-known artists including Katherine Jenkins, the Welsh singer.

In Poland – one of the EU’s poorest countries, earning just 60 per cent of the average gross national income among European countries – there was £503,000 of funding for a “Biblical garden” in the spa town of Muszyna.

A botanical garden will be built around the town’s church and parish buildings, with models of Biblical scenes such as the burning bush and Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan. EU and Polish officials hope to attract more tourists to the area in the south-east of the country.

An arts centre in Bialystok, in north-east Poland, has received almost £24 million. The European Art Centre will house four main halls to host opera and orchestral performances, with state-of-the-art equipment, an amphitheatre and restaurants.

Officials hope the scheme will boost the local economy by increasing the number of tourists. The EU also says the centre will allow residents to enjoy more cultural experiences and that its construction will initially create 182 jobs, and an additional 50 over the longer term.

Dozens of projects across Britain also receive structural funds, with the money allocated by councils and regional development officials rather than by the government.

Spending has included £6 million on a scheme providing businesses in Merseyside, Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester and Cheshire with advice to help them reduce carbon emissions and become more efficient.

Structural funds come from three pots of cash: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund.

They are supposed to be spent in the poorer parts of each European country to help them close the gap with wealthier areas.

Regardless of how wealthy a country is, it receives some money from the first two funds, while the third fund is spent in the 14 poorest member countries. The ERDF is intended to boost economies and safeguard jobs and funds a wide range of projects, including the building of roads and tourist attractions. The ESF is aimed at helping people find jobs.

The funds account for almost a third of all Brussels’s spending, and over the seven-year spending round on which Europe works, amount to £279 billion between 2007 and 2013, of which £29.5 billion will come from British taxpayers.

A think tank, Open Europe, has endorsed a plan that would see the funds spent only in countries with income levels at 90 per cent or below the EU average, which could save Britain billions of pounds.

“The structural funds remain off target and economically irrational,” Pawel Swidlicki, a research analyst at Open Europe, said. “Limiting spending to the EU’s most needy member states would save the UK around £4 billion over seven years.”

He added: “In addition, for the remaining funds, a clear link between performance and spending must be established in order to avoid the current situation whereby money is too often ploughed into projects with minimal or even negative results.”

Shirin Wheeler, a spokesman for EU regional policy, said: “Within the EU’s single market, every euro wisely invested will benefit all member states by creating growth, jobs and new opportunities for businesses throughout the EU. UK businesses, for example, have won many contracts in new member states.

“As well as supporting the poorest regions, we need to help all of Europe’s regions to become more competitive. This is about stable investment, not subsidies.”

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Re: Anti EU Politics Hotting Up.

Post  Panda on Sun 4 Nov - 10:45

David Cameron in new EU cash fight


David Cameron is to open a new battle with the European Union by demanding reforms to some of its most controversial spending.








Around £13 million of EU money set aside to tackle the continental wealth divide has been spent on a botanical “wonderland” in France






By Robert Watts, Deputy Political Editor

9:00PM GMT 03 Nov 2012

536 Comments




The Prime Minister will use a European budget summit later this month to call for far-reaching changes to the EU’s £279 billion structural funds, which cost British taxpayers more than £4 billion a year.


His move will delight Conservative backbenchers after the Government was defeated in a Commons vote on Europe last week, but risks a new rift with his Liberal Democrat Coalition partners.


Tensions between the two parties over Europe remain high and Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, last week described any attempt by the Government to repatriate powers from Brussels as a “false promise wrapped in a Union Jack”.


A senior government source said that the structural funds system was “particularly silly” and changes were “achievable” given the prospect that other nations would back Britain’s demand for reform.


British taxpayers contribute £4.2 billion a year to the structural funds, which aim to narrow the gap between rich and poor parts of the Continent. In return about £1.2 billion a year is paid back to projects in Britain — but ministers have no say over how it is spent.



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The European Commission has warned of widespread fraud and questioned how money is spent in Spain and Italy.

The Sunday Telegraph has found a series of examples of projects which appear not to tackle poverty directly, including £24 million for an arts centre in the Polish city of Bialystok, with four main halls to host opera and orchestral performances, and £13 million for a botanical “wonderland” in France.

Other schemes include a jazz festival in the Caribbean and a tourism project in Poland that recreates scenes from the Bible.

Mr Cameron was already facing a showdown with European leaders at the Brussels talks on November 22 and 23, where the EU’s 2014-2020 budget will be set.

While most EU leaders are pushing for a 5 per cent increase in the EU’s budget, Mr Cameron is insisting on a freeze to reflect the grim economic conditions.

The Prime Minister will also use the meetings to demand that wealthy nations do not receive structural funds, ending the “recycling” of money between richer countries such as Britain, Germany and France. Open Europe, a think tank, has estimated that doing this would have saved Britain up to £4.2 billion between 2007 and 2013.

A senior government source said: “Making changes to the [structural] funds will be discussed at the Brussels summit. We feel this is achievable. It may take time and we can’t do this on our own, but there are other European countries who share our view.

“It seems particularly silly that you have money going from rich countries to build projects in other rich countries. Then there are some rather stupid projects that have been funded.”

The source said that the Government is “optimistic” that senior figures in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Finland and France may back Mr Cameron’s proposal.

Last week’s Commons vote, in which 53 Tory MPs joined Labour to call for a cut in the EU’s overall budget, is backed today by Andrea Leadsom, a leading Eurosceptic Conservative MP. She told The Sunday Telegraph: “We know the Prime Minister thinks as we do on this. If we can reform the structural funds it would set an important precedent for repatriating other powers. This is a unique opportunity.”

Her rhetoric makes clear that Mr Cameron will be held to account by his already mutinous backbenchers if he fails to make progress on the funds, which account for nearly a third of EU spending.

Earlier this year, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said that the Government would conduct a full audit of the cost of Britain’s membership of the European Union.

The two-year review will examine the value of the structural funds between autumn 2013 and spring 2014.

Meanwhile, in a strongly worded article for the website ConservativeHome, Bernard Jenkin, a senior backbencher and chairman of the Commons’ public administration committee, urges Mr Cameron to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership before the next election.

Mr Jenkin writes: “The PM should set out, in positive and co-operative terms, that the UK must maintain a single market with the EU … but only if we can take back control over our own laws and legal system. The rules of the single market should be agreed, not imposed.”

He suggests a referendum question before 2015 of “do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation?”

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Cowardly Cameron!!!! Why not a straight question , "do you want to remain in the EU? " Britain has a healthy trade with Commonwealth Countries and other Countries around the world and would survive. Also could still trade with Europe.

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Re: Anti EU Politics Hotting Up.

Post  Panda on Wed 7 Nov - 16:06

7 November 2012 Last updated at 15:55


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David Cameron attacks 'ludicrous' EU budget increase


Comments (1019)
David Cameron is expected to push for the EU budget to be frozen during talks with Angela Merkel
Continue reading the main story
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David Cameron has attacked a 'ludicrous' proposed rise in the EU budget in advance of talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The leaders are due to discuss the issue at Downing Street later.

Mr Cameron has indicated he wants a freeze and he is under pressure from some in his party to campaign for a reduction in real terms.

Germany has indicated it is sympathetic to the UK's arguments but says some rise is necessary.

The talks between the two leaders come less than three weeks before a summit of EU member states at which they will try to work out the next set of long-term spending plans for Brussels.

Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote



I feel I am in there fighting for Europe's taxpayers, particularly British taxpayers.”
End Quote David Cameron
Tough outcome

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, during his three-day visit to the Middle East, Mr Cameron said he would make a "very robust and strong argument" for an arrangement that forced the European Commission to limit its budget.

He said: "They are proposing a completely ludicrous 100 billion euro increase in the European budget.

"I'll be arguing for a very tough outcome. I never had very high hopes for a November agreement because you have got 27 different people round the table with 27 different opinions."

Last week the government was defeated in a Commons vote on the EU budget after 53 Conservative MPs defied their party over the issue.

Tory rebels joined with Labour to pass an amendment calling for a real-terms cut in spending between 2014 and 2020.

The amendment was not binding on ministers, but was seen as a blow to David Cameron's authority on Europe ahead of the EU budget summit.

Signs of exasperation

Mr Cameron said: "I feel I am in there fighting for Europe's taxpayers, particularly British taxpayers.

"We have a rebate, we are keeping that rebate. But over and above that rebate I also want to see a good budget outcome for the UK."

The BBC's correspondent in Berlin, Stephen Evans, says many in Angela Merkel's parliamentary party show signs of exasperation at what they see as the British hard-line.

Any deal agreed by EU leaders later this month would have to be put to the Commons for approval.

Mr Cameron has said he would be prepared to veto any unacceptable proposal - which would mean that a deal would not go ahead.

If no agreement is reached by the end of next year the 2013 budget will be rolled into 2014 with a 2% rise to account for inflation.

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