My former staffer Sally McNamara, now Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, has researched a particular aspect of EU propaganda which I found shocking. It will horrify EU tax-payers, and it has certainly affronted the Americans.
We are all too familiar with the EU promoting itself within Europe, planting stories in the media, funding groups of journalists to visit Brussels and to travel with senior eurocrats, publishing children’s comics promoting Captain Euro, and funding Jean Monnet chairs at British universities. But until this shock report, I had no idea that the EU was actually spending rather large sums — 250 million pounds over the last three years — promoting left-wing causes in America.
The EU has budget lines to promote democracy and good governance in countries where liberty is at risk. There may be a case for this activity in Kosovo and the Ukraine — and also in Croatia (which curiously has been approved as a new accession state to the EU). But in America? In the land of the brave and the home of the free? In a country that shares a Judeo-Christian cultural heritage, and whose models of governance and jurisprudence owe a significant debt to the UK, and to the Enlightenment? A country whose Constitution is the very model of a free society — and compares amazingly well with the EU’s own clumsy attempts at a Constitution.
As my colleague Dan Hannan has put it, the US Constitution enshrines the rights of the citizen against the government, whereas the EU’s failed effort did exactly the opposite, asserting the rights of the EU over the citizen. And now the EU is promoting democracy in the USA?
Read the report. Promoting the International Criminal Court: $1.4 million. (Remember all the perverse judicial decisions we have seen in the UK as a result of our subservience to a foreign court, the European Court of Justice?).
Fighting the death penalty: $3.1 million. Our taxpayers’ money is spent opposing the death penalty in the USA, although repeated opinion polls show that UK voters broadly approve capital punishment.
Promoting alternative energy: It’s not enough that the EU seeks to deindustrialise Britain by imposing gratuitously expensive wind farms on us: they must promote the same wasteful approach in the US. Fortunately the US is falling out of love with wind energy, in favour of cheap and plentiful natural gas.
Plus all the usual stuff about promoting “information” about the EU in America, and no doubt seeking to extend the EU’s “model of governance” that has done us so much damage here at home. They’ve even promoted the closing of Guantanamo, although the EU has not offered alternatives for sequestering the terrorist suspects who remain there. They’re giving our money to leftist think tanks and advocacy groups, and to universities.
I had the privilege on Thursday of proposing to the International Working Group of the American Legislative Exchange Council, here in New Orleans where I write, a motion censuring these activities of the EU, and I am delighted to say that it was passed by a wide margin, and will now be sent both to the US State Department and to the EU institutions. ALEC is a national US organisation of many hundreds of state legislators, and so represents a broad swathe of American opinion, legitimised through the ballot box. But I won’t hold my breath waiting for the EU Commission to respond.
This is activity by the EU which should offend both EU citizens, on account of the wasteful and inappropriate spending, and American citizens, as an affront to their freedom and democracy. Quite an achievement on the part of the EU.