Un espace partagé, un avenir concerté. That’s the slogan of the EU’s new Arc Manche region — which takes in most of southern England, plus northern France and the Pas de Calais. Find it at www.arcmanche.com.
I picked this story up from the excellent front-page piece on Monday in the Daily Express, under Macer Hall’s by-line.
The scale of their ambition (and our sense of outrage), is almost Biblical. They actually want to carve up part of England and part of France and create a single region, with a Council, a President and a flag. And their plans for common activity? Cross-Channel cycle tracks (Peter Simple’s underwater motor-cycling springs to mind), and a touring street-theatre-circus company. With clowns. You may feel that the real clowns are in the Berlaymont building.
So I felt moved to put a Written Question to the Commission as follows:
1 What is the current status of the Arc Manche region project? How much EU money has been spent on it, and how much is it planned to spend?
2 What is the purpose of the project?
3 Does the Commission agree with me that political structures and divisions should be consistent with the identity and aspirations of citizens? Does the Commission consider that this Arc Manche project meets that criterion?
4 What evidence is there that any significant body of public opinion has called for such an initiative? Indeed, does it have any democratic legitimacy at all?
5 Is the Commission aware of the widespread anger and derision amongst British citizens following media coverage of the project?