Today, MEPs vote on the parliament’s report on the so-called Multi-Annual Financial Framework, or MFF. This is the parliament’s response to the Council’s proposal on the six-year outlook for EU budget.
The vote poses a particular problem for UKIP. On the one hand, we don’t want any EU budget at all, so we’d like to vote against the Council’s proposal. And the Parliament’s response is also against the Council’s proposal — but only because MEPs actually want to increase the spending.
There is no option to vote against any budget at all. We have to vote for or against the parliament’s report — or abstain.
Our first instinct, given the choice between two bad outcomes, is to vote for the less bad option. That’s the Council position, with its lower budget. So we’d need to vote against the parliament resolution.
But there are other and perhaps stronger reasons to vote against the parliament’s document.
In addition to calling for increased spending, it calls for more involvement for the parliament in decision-making — and the parliament is far more profligate than the Council of member-states.
It demands the phasing-out of all existing rebates — and that would include the British rebate.
It calls for more spending on the EU’s misguided climate change and energy objectives.
It calls for so-called “own resources” — that is, EU-level taxes. And it says that the proceeds of the proposed Financial Transaction Tax should go directly into the EU budget.
So it might be attractive to vote against the Council and the budget by voting for the parliament report. But we’d be voting for higher spending, more power for the parliament, wasteful climate policies, direct taxes at the EU level — and an end to the British rebate.
Personally, I don’t want to see a headline that says “UKIP votes for higher EU spending”. So I’ll be voting against.