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Brussels has been splashing the cash in the States

    CPS Intern Rupert Eyles reviews a Heritage Foundation report into EU advocacy in the US.

    In May of this year, Sally McNamara from the American Heritage Foundation released a report investigating EU advocacy in the United States. Using the European Commission’s Financial Transparency System (FTS), her report showed payments made inside the U.S. totalled 840.6 million euros between 2007 and 2009. In the current financial climate, such transfers to the richest country in the world are ludicrous. Even more so when one examines precisely what this European taxpayers’ money is going on. That such transfers have failed to be highlighted makes them all the more serious.

    Areas of EU spending which could be conceived as ‘worthy’ are themselves questionable at best. For example, the EU granted at least 2.1 million euros between 2007 and 2009 to U.S.-based organisations engaged in anti-death penalty advocacy. Even if you’re not a fan of capital punishment, is it not better for the citizens of the U.S to see its flaws for themselves, rather than have some gauche-caviar diplomats try and heavy-handedly explain it to them?

    Close to a million more was spent promoting the International Criminal Court (which the US is currently not party to), and separate from these payments, unknown amounts were spent to disseminate the EU’s view on Climate Change. The intervention by the EU into such national debates can easily be seen as meddling in another state’s affairs, of which it has no immediate business. This dosh could have been transferred back to the respective EU member nations to be spent on the areas each state saw fit. Surely, in times of austerity, that would have been the right thing to do?

    As you delve further into the Heritage report, more farcical spending comes to light. Take the nearly 3.5 million euros that was spent on EU Centers of Excellence, ‘promoting education instruction on the EU inside the U.S.’ The University of Wisconsin, for example, received a cool 300,000 euros for this purpose, while the University of Michigan only managed to squeeze 276,499 euros out of the programme.

    Whilst setting up these delightfully vacuous Centers of Excellence, it would also appear that EU officials have enjoyed quite the luxury treatment in the USA, with bills for top hotels and BMWs reaching 2.3 million euros. The Waldorf-Astoria seems to have been a favourite with EU diplomats, spending thousands on suites with undoubtedly a long pillow menu and butler scorecard. Anthony Blair, our former right honourable friend, could also have enjoyed the height of luxury, thanks to his 832,500 euro allocation.

    As we struggle through these extremely difficult financial times, this serious misallocation of resources by the EU must be highlighted and halted. When you read of such profligacy by Brussels, you automatically become very sceptical of the pleas from EU diplomats for a 4.9% increase in funding for 2012. Not only is this expenditure ridiculous from a financial perspective, but is morally unjust. Why is the EU diverting resources to get so heavily involved in the internal debates of a sovereign state?

    Let’s hope that the more light that is shed on the expenses of the EU, as Ms McNamara has done, the lower the tab picked up by the European taxpayer at the Waldorf-Astoria will be in future.

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