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20.10.2015.

Ending Excess 2: The Extravagance Continues!

Britain’s gross contribution to the EU £105 billion (€141 billion) budget this year is some £14.5 billion (£10.4 billion net), usually second only to Germany, and bigger than the budget for the British Home Office and Foreign Office together. For much if the past 40 years, Britain has been subsidising the French state - a similar sized economy and population to its own.

While the costs of EU administration are just a small proportion of the overall budget (some 6%) nevertheless these costs are huge. As just one part, the European Parliament now costs £1.3 billion (€1.79 bn) a year. The main driver of this cost is the Secretariat, which now employs 7,485 people.

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, author of the latest New Direction report, “Ending Excess 2”, on cutting the costs of the European Parliament comments:

"The British Government is getting the British economy back on track and reducing public expenditure across many departments. But Britain’s EU budget contribution continues to rise because of decisions taken by the last Labour government, in spite of David Cameron’s success in reducing the overall EU budget and the increasing unpopularity of the EU’s role in many countries."

"A relatively small but nevertheless significant cost driver is the European Parliament, in particular its secretariat, which has a life of its own largely unrelated to the work or needs of the MEPs. The protected and bloated secretariat has doubled in size over the past decade while the number of MEPs has remained fairly constant."

"As part of the “European Civil Service”, the Parliament’s Secretariat works closely with the General Secretariat of the Council, with the External Action Service and, especially, with the European Commission. It is their job to drive the process of “ever closer union” - the creation of a federal United States of Europe."

"Some €80 million a year is spent on promoting the Parliament’s role and the project of European integration. Some €56million is being spent on a “House of European History". But the largest and most costly part of the Secretariat is the Directorate-General for Translation with some 1,190 staff whose salaries cost at least €96 million (£71m). No other international organisation, not even the UN, insists on translation and interpretation into more than 6 languages - the EU has 24."

“While national governments are struggling to reduce debt and cut public expenditure the EU institutions live in a different world. They have no mind to reduce costs. They doggedly pursue the mirage of “more Europe” and “ever closer union".  More officials means more regulation and more legislation and more opportunity to spread the word.

“If there was the will, enormous savings – some £400 million a year – could be made in the Parliament’s budget without affecting its core responsibilities.

“As we seek EU reform, a reduction in the costs of the EU, starting with its administration, should be a key demand." 

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