31 October 2012

Time to cut the EU budget

The news that Tory rebels and opportunistic Labour MPs have defeated the coalition by calling for a cut in the EU budget means it is time for Lib Dems to rethink their atitiude to the EU.

With austerity across Europe it seems bizarre the political elite that is calling for belt tightening in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal among others is incapable of practising what it preaches.

The line used by opponents of a budget cut (including Lib Dems) is that it will be impossible to agree budget cuts, so the best that can be hoped for is a freeze or small increase - so there is no point in trying.  And by not backing Cameron they are making it more difficult for him to negotiate.

This is pragmatism taken to a ludicrous degree which tells the people in the UK and across Europe that the man in Brussels is not one of us.  Because the EU won't refom itself or its policies such as the ludicrously overblown CAP it makes it more likely the only recourse is for people to pursuade their government that withdrawal is the only option.

So instead of ignoring this vote - the coalition should use it to strengthen their diplomacy - particularly among those governments facing tough EU backed austerity measures.  Showing the poorest in Europe that even the most priviledged Brussels bureaucrat is 'all in this together' may be the only way of keeping the EU together and curbing the rise of right wing isolatist parties like UKIP.

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