October 26, 2010

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UK NEWS

EU REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN: EU IS ON ANOTHER PLANET

 

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Nigel Farage says Brussels has 'lost touch with reality'
Sunday October 24,2010

By Kirsty Buchanan, Political Editor EXCLUSIVE









BARKING Brussels politicians have proved they live on another planet by pouring millions of pounds into the pointless European space programme.
As millions of Britons faced swingeing cuts, the draft EU budget reveals an extra £23million will be spent on space research next year, taking the annual total to £204million.
Taxpayers’ cash is also being funnelled into a £670million subsidy of pro-European documentaries and art-house films revelling in scenes of sex and violence.
Nigel Farage, frontrunner to lead the UK Independence Party, last night described the draft budget as proof that Brussels had lost touch with reality. He said: “The idea of sending eurocrats into orbit has its charms but £23million extra for space research is bizarre.
“Will the first EU space rocket have gold-plated taps and marble flooring? It seems our eurocrats have finally got off the Brussels gravy train and boarded Starship Excess.”

The 500-page draft was rubber-stamped by MEPs on the same day that Chancellor George Osborne was pulling Britain back from the brink of financial ruin with an £81billion cut in state spending.
The EU document is unapologetic about the 13 per cent increase in next year’s European space programme from £181million to £204million.
It states: “Decreasing financial support for policies like research and innovation, which are core priorities of the European Union cannot be accepted by the European Parliament, because they can be harmful for the functioning of the programmes. Therefore, increasing appropriations… is fully justified.”
The document also lavishes taxpayers’ cash on a six-year media programme to bankroll films promoting Europe’s “identity and heritage”.
There is an 85 per cent increase in the entertainment budget and a £551,000 rise in funding for the private company that arranges MEPs’ travel.
Although it is a private company, the EU travel agency will next year enjoy a public subsidy topping £1.7million to make sure its politicians and their families fully enjoy their holidays.
Some £26.4million has been pledged for the Euroscola programme, which allows MEPs to pay people to visit them in Brussels on fact-finding trips. Web TV, the European parliamentary channel watched almost exclusively by eurocrats and MEPs, will enjoy an £8million grant next year.
A further £850,000 has been set aside to promote cross-border tourism.
Mr Farage said: “The profligacy of the European elite and their projects is astonishing. Cars, trips, wine, social clubs, all paid for out of our taxes and of virtually no benefit to anyone bar themselves.”
The revelations came as the Open Europe think tank published research showing that while 192 quangos in Britain face the axe, quango-land in Brussels is thriving.
The cost of EU quangos has tripled over the past five years and will top £2.1billion in 2011, of which £300million is funded by Britain’s hard pressed taxpayers.
The draft budget outlines an eight per cent increase in quango costs, including the creation of five new agencies and support for the existing 47 quangos.
They include the European Institute for Gender Equality, which will receive £46million next year.
Emma Boon, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers hand billions to the unaccountable, meddling EU every year and, despite cutting spending here, the EU is continuing to burn through our money at an even faster rate.
“While we are abolishing dozens of wasteful quangos, our savings are being undone as Brussels creates new ones. Meanwhile, Brussels is busy slowing down Britain too, with EU red tape costing British business and organisations billions every year.”
The MEPs have backed European Commission plans for a 5.9 per cent increase in the EU budget for 2011.
Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday branded the inflation-busting demand “outrageous” and vowed to use this week’s Council of Ministers meeting to form an alliance aimed at forcing a cash freeze on the EU budget. If he fails, Britain will see its contribution rise by £840million next year, pushing Brussels’s bloated budget up by almost £7billion to £114billion next year.
With Britain now pouring £48million a day into the EU, demands are growing for a referendum on whether we should be in or out.
Jon Gaunt, radio presenter and spokesman for the EU Referendum Campaign, said: “There is a massive disconnect between the political class and ordinary people and this is an issue where people can rally behind the flag and say it’s not right. The EU Referendum Campaign is not saying let’s get out of Europe. We are just saying let’s have a debate about this and let’s have a vote.”
The campaign has a petition on the internet which it hopes will attract the signatures of hundreds of thousands of voters.
In the run-up to the election, David Cameron outlined plans to trigger legislation in Parliament for any petition backed by one million or more citizens.
While that democracy pledge did not survive the coalition agreement, one million signatures calling for an EU referendum would be impossible for politicians to ignore.



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