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“European Parliament, your time has come”

, by Pauline Gessant

JEF Europe expresses its strong anger with the results of the EU council on the next Multinannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2014-2020.

For the first time of the History, the EU budget has been decreased. “Which support to growth can we expect with a budget reduction? The EU budget constitutes the main driving force for the way out of the crisis.” says Pauline Gessant, President of JEF-Europe.

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JEF-Europe considers there is an inexplicable contradiction between the European Growth Pact agreed by the European Council in June 2012 and the reduction of the budget decided by the European Council in February 2013. It also regrets the “poor” amount that was assured for the combat of youth unemployment in the EU. 6 billion euro for a 7-year period, while the youth unemployment overcomes 50% in some areas, is not sufficient and cannot back the adopted pro-growth agenda. “The commitments of the EU2020 to improve social inclusion and sustainable jobs cannot be kept with a budget like this” explains Pauline Gessant.

Once again the intergovernmentalism has shown its limits. The national selfishness and the individual strategies of Member States need to be overcome with the establishment of a truly European budget with own resources and federal institutions.

The upcoming vote on the MFF constitutes a real chance for the European Parliament to show its power and influence the European agenda. It is an unprecedented opportunity to bring EU citizens back on board and give them an actual reason to increase the turnout of the 2014 EU elections.

“We count on the European Parliament to express its opposition to this low-profile budget which put into danger the viability of the European project. On the 8 th February, with the decision of the European Council, it’s the European spirit which lost. Where are the new founding fathers and mothers of the EU? We hope that the MEPs will represent the interest of the European citizens and push the vision of a Europe of solidarity and ambition for the future” concludes Pauline Gessant.

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  • On 16 February 2013 at 17:18, by Charles_M Replying to: “European Parliament, your time has come”

    Did it not occur to you that not only governments but the citizens of the EU might be in agreemnt with a reduced budget? And I mean not just in the UK, but in the other net contributor nations? Do you seriously think that a majority think their taxes should fund federalist day dreams?

  • On 16 February 2013 at 17:33, by I want out Replying to: “European Parliament, your time has come”

    Anyone else want to bet that the MEPs will make many outraged speeches and then mildly vote the budget through, perhaps promising that next time they will take action ? To behave otherwise would result in their de selection by the national parties they represent at the next election. They are not leaders simply party men (and women) taking the money that is on offer and will not do anything that ultimately will threaten their salary.

  • On 17 February 2013 at 13:43, by Christoph Replying to: “European Parliament, your time has come”

    @Charles: I think it is not so much about the amount of money but rather about how the NATIONAL Leaders want to spend it. A huge amount of money will still be wasted on subsidizing agro business, instead of being invested in the future of young Europeans or the technological development - that is the real scandal in my eyes.

    @I want out: although it is quite possible that you are right, I really hope that this won’t happen. Approving this budget would mean that the only directly elected body of the EU subordinates to national interests and this won’t help anybody. As I said before, it is the specific composition of the budget that makes it weird and this composition was negotiated by representatives of the Member States. Cameron made a big fuss about the EU wasting money and that the EU is not competitive. Now he directly participates in wasting money – it somehow seems to be the case that your great nation is led by a seriously confused person ;)

  • On 20 February 2013 at 10:53, by Christoph Replying to: “European Parliament, your time has come”

    I like Your promise;)

    But let’s get back to topic: it is true that Cameron is only to a limited extend responsible for the distribution of EU money. Nevertheless there is enough waste of money in Briton, too. I just want to remind you at the House of Lords. Not a single Lord is democratically elected and there is 760 Lords which cost the taxpayer a lot of money. The House of Lords undermines both Cameron’s criticism of EU’s democratic legitimacy and the EU wasting money. Just because it is a tradition it does not mean that it makes sense spending the money.

    Additionally Britain is represented by a Monarch who is not elected and costs the tax payer a lot of money.

    Finally, the British House of Commons is, comparatively speaking, one of the biggest Parliaments in the world. It has 650 MPs compared to, for instance, 620 MPs in the German Bundestag, whereby the German MPs represent a significantly higher number of citizens.

    Cheers

    btw.: am currently writing on an article about the Parliament. Can’t wait for your comments.

  • On 22 February 2013 at 10:01, by Christoph Replying to: “European Parliament, your time has come”

    Dear Iwantout,

    I totally agree that it is the British who are to decide how they want to be governed. Nevertheless I would like to bring forward my argument.

    Cameron, as far as I understood, rendered mainly two aspects in which the EU has to improve: the first one was the economical issue, including the budget question, competitiveness and so forth. The second main issue was that the EU lacks democratic legitimacy.

    I think that Cameron’s arguments are weak. It makes a difference if a EU-Citizen living in Sweden, Austria or Germany criticizes the EU for being not sufficiently democratic or if a EU-Citizen living in the UK does so, because the argument of the former is much more coherent than the latter one’s. Institutions in the former countries enjoy a high level of democratic legitimacy, because everything is based upon democratic procedures. As we have seen this is not true for the UK.

    Like you have said, the Commissioners are chosen on similar terms as the Members of the House of Lords (and even just for 5 years!) – so why should somebody living in the UK think that the House of Lords is doing a better job than the Commission – just out of tradition. It seems to me that if you are British playing the democratic card is – at least to some extent – hypocritical. The argument is actually based on populism and economical interests.

    The economic issue is very complex, but let me say this: it is hard to say to which extent the EU, its regulations and freedoms effect national economies. Nevertheless I doubt that the effect is able to totally reverse an economies fate. To put it simple: you can’t blame the EU for your economic downturn. The Greek or the Spanish structures were rotten with or without the EU. The EU has only intensified the impact of the crisis. Vice versa it is able to intensify upswings of the economy. We should think of the single market as a catalyst rather than an engine or an obstacle to the economy.

    So even the economical argument limps as it is mostly domestic reasons why the UK is not competitive. Countries like the Netherlands, Austria or Germany and their economic performance suggest that it is possible to be competitive on the world stage while being a part of the EU. At least that is more convincing to me than all that “EU scapegoating”.

    Regards

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