My dilemma on the EU Budget

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Downing Street is claiming the credit for cutting the EU Budget for 2014/ 2020, the so-called Multi-Annual Financial Framework.  The ceiling for overall payments has been set at EUR 908.40 billion, compared to EUR 942.78 billion in the MFF 2007-2013, meaning a reduction of just over 3%. This is quite an achievement — the first real-terms budget cut in EU history — though as Downing Street is less keen to emphasise, the actual UK contribution will still rise, because Tony Blair rashly gave away a big chunk of the UK rebate in exchange for a promise, never fulfilled, of CAP reform.

Another point which Downing Street has failed to emphasise is that under the new dispensation of the Lisbon Treaty, the European parliament also has to agree to the deal.  And it may well not do so.  It’s expected to come up at our March Strasbourg session.  There’s already been a minor furore over whether it should be a secret ballot, which would enable MEPs to defy requests from their respective governments without being found out.  UKIP of course opposes a secret ballot — our voters are entitled to know what we did.

But that leaves us with the question — how should we vote?  Our first instinct of course is to vote against.  We don’t want to be in the EU, and we don’t want any EU budget at all .  No matter how little the EU costs us, it’s still too much

But on the other hand, we’ve always called on the EU to spend less, so how can we vote against a reduced budget?  Just suppose, for the sake of argument, that in a tight vote our dozen UKIP votes tipped the scales and defeated the proposal.  If no agreement is reached, the default position is a real-terms freeze — so the budget would go up in nominal terms.  How do we fancy a headline “UKIP vote leads to increased EU budget”?

Tough call.  But of course there’s an up-side in terms of voter perception, if the budget deal falls.  The news for the voters would then be “Member States agreed a cut, but the European parliament effectively vetoed it”.  That should increase public anger and resentment against the EU and all its works.

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16 Responses to My dilemma on the EU Budget

  1. Julian says:

    As you say, you have two options. Vote yes and the budget goes down, vote no and it stays the same. There is no option to have a zero budget by not voting for the budget. Presumably, if all MEPs voted no, the budget would still stay the same. i.e. Don’t try to be clever or complicated about it. Just vote for the option that spends the least.

  2. mikestallard says:

    Does it actually matter that much? We all know (Marta Andreason pbuh) that the budget will increase anyway. The EU is not honourable or truthful or trustworthy as you point out. If they can lie to Tony Blair, then they can lie to Mr Cameron too.

  3. Martin says:

    I favour voting yes. Reducing the budget reduces the EU’s power and may slow down some aspect of its drive for ever closer union. This in turn will go some small way to making it easier for the UK to leave. Would the UK’s contribution would increase even more without the reduction, or would it be frozen?

  4. Anne says:

    You Sir have chosen to be in the EU Parliament, you have recognised it as a Parliament above our own Parliament-you, therefore must deal with the consequences. Had I a choice of either paying taxes to our own Government or to the EU I would choose the former only. As it is, it is our own Government that has to obey all EU Rules as long as we keep paying our Taxes. Just how much longer will the people do that? Especially as our Government is at present altering our (And your) own 600 year old Constitution ready if and for the birth of a baby girl. Real reason for Changing our Constitution? The EU’s Equality Act perhaps???

    • rfhmep says:

      Anne: I have chosen to be in the European parliament, but I have certainly not recognised it as a parliament above our own parliament. I recognise the reality that at the moment it can pass laws in defiance of our own parliament, but my whole political career is devoted to ending that state of affairs.

      • Anne says:

        Roger, I am sorry, for perhaps I would prefer people like yourself to be in our OWN Parliament-full of people like you AND I guess RIGHT NOW, for our own long standing Constitution is under pressure very much so at the moment, and perhaps the REAL reason it is under attack from our own people is through the EU’s Equality Act. Yes this Coalition Government is prepared to change 9 parts of our Constitution through the “Succession to the Crown Bill” AND it would even change THE PEOPLE’S OWN BILL OF RIGHTS 1689. which makes clear, that:-From the Bill of Rights. II. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after this present session of Parliament no dispensation by _non obstante_ of or to any statute or any part thereof shall be allowed, but that the same shall be held void and of no effect, except a dispensation be allowed of in such statute, and except in such cases as shall be specially provided for by one or more bill or bills to be passed during this present session of Parliament.
        III. Provided that no charter or grant or pardon granted before the three and twentieth
        day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-nine shall be any ways impeached or invalidated by this Act, but that the same shall be and remain of the same force and effect in law and no other than as if this Act had never been made.
        What will there be left for you to come back to?

    • rfhmep says:

      Think of it this way, Anne. The European parliament is bad eneough as it is, with about 85% passionate europhiles. Wouldn’t it be worse at 100%? Isn’t it worthwhile to have a few sensible people there to tell them some home truths from time to time? But the real benefit of membership of the European parliament for a eurosceptic is that it provides a platform from which to attack and challenge the European project. I trust I’m making good use of that platform.

      • Anne says:

        I accept fully your point. However, not only must the people protect and defend our Monarchy Roger, but also look to the EU Legislation and the drastic effect it can and will have on our Monarchy too. Just suppose that if a European Union still exists by the time William and Kate’s baby is ready for marriage, what if He/She chooses “same sex Marriage” (See EU’s Equality Act) End of future Monarchy? Or should provisions be made now to protect the line? Should it be laid down in Law while the Succession to the Crown Bill is goinbg through Parliament? Perhaps that it should be the second son or daughter that should become the next Monarch? It is our present leaders that can only see “TODAY” what the Succession to the Crown Bill will bring-they are not looking into the future of this Country-UNLESS I AM MISSING SOME-THING AND THERE IS NO “future” FOR THIS COUNTRY AND WE WILL INDEED JUST BE REGIONS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION?

  5. limogerry says:

    Less spending is less EU government, so that is preferable to jamming the gears and causing more spending.

  6. Dave Cox says:

    I would agree with some of the previous comments, vote for any option that stands the best chance of reducing the EU budget. I am seeing already that this year is going to be a worse year than perhaps we thought, with redundancies and closures, likely to be the order of the ” year”.
    If so , then why should the EU have any chance of increased spending ?

  7. DougS says:

    A secret ballot? There really is no level to which these people won’t sink, to get their own greedy, money-grabbing way.

    I say vote yes – it recognizes the reality and protects UKIP from a possible disaster if, as you say Roger, a UKIP ‘no’ vote actually results in a budget increase.

  8. Malcolm Edward says:

    To me it is clear you should vote for the proposed reduction in the EU budget – that will be seen as a pragmatic move and a positive and consistent step in the right direction. UKIP doesn’t have to make any purist gestures – everyone knows that UKIP rathers we paid nothing to the EU. Voting the same way as the bigger-budget europhiles would be bad PR for UKIP.

  9. Sean O'Hare says:

    Roger, Are you asking which way to vote purely for yourself? Do the other UKIP MEPs not have the same dilemma?

    It certainly isn’t an easy one to solve. Pretty much a lose-lose situation for UKIP. One can almost imagine that Cast Iron did it on purpose!

  10. What impresses me after a couple of days is the way that a Euro MP actually has the courtesy and interest to ask us what we think about this difficult situation! And then actually reads and answers the posts!

  11. catalanbrian says:

    I left a comment yesterday saying that you should vote in the way that you believe your constituents would want you to vote. I then went on to comment that this, however, does give you a bit of a dilemma as they voted for you as a Conservative and not as UKIP.. Oddly that comment did not appear amongst those posted. Will this one?

    • rogeroffice says:

      Catalanbrian – I am the moderator for this blog. I wanted to clarify that this is the only comment you have left in reply to this blog piece by Roger Helmer MEP. Prior to this comment, The last we had recorded from you was on December 3rd 2012.

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