The UK: The most succcessful economy in the EU
“The European Commission is penalising Britain for taking tough decisions, putting in place a long-term economic plan and for having the most successful economy in the EU, while actually rewarding France for being an economic basket case“. That’s according to Syed Kamall, the leader of Conservative MEPs.
His comments come after it was revealed today that the UK has been given a back dated additional bill for £1.7 billion, which the EU have demanded be paid by December the 1st.
Prime Minister David Cameron was apoplectic on the TV today, so much so he could hardly get his words out as he said “It is an appalling way to behave. I am not paying that bill on December the 1st. If people think I am they have got another thing coming“.
Nigel Farage is jumping up and down in glee at the prospect of more UKIP votors, David Cameron is blustering about a bill which he’ll probably be forced to pay unless he can finesse enough EU leaders to block the entire EU budget and then demand concessions and the general population look at £1.7billion as a massive amount of money and look forward to the promised EU referendum which comes ever closer but never quite arrives.
There’s much been said in the media already about this bill, particularly galling as most of the cash the EU is demanding from us will go the the French and Germans as the two countries in line for the largest rebates… the so called powerhouses of the EU economy but both countries with finances in a much worse state then the UK.
The truth is though that it’s a tiny amount of money (just over £27 is your share of the bill in case you were wondering). The £1.7 billion is spread over many years from 2013 to as far back as 2002 and while it sounds a lot in governmental terms it’s practically a rounding error.
It’s still an absurd situation, there’s no other organisation I can think of who retrospectively recalculates your subs from a decade ago and demands you cough up additional funds (or indeed gives you cash back as will happen for some EU countries). It’s done and dusted, in national budgetary terms it’s a small amount of pocket change, write it off as an accounting error.
What this really does is highlight the question of how much the UK average voter appreciates the EU and whether they’ll be likely to vote to stay or go when and if we eventually get a referendum. This is not going to help the pro-european quarter but adds fuel to the fire for those who would rather we quit.
The one good thing is confirmation that the UK has the best economy in the EU. Whilst things may not have been that financially rosy for many in recent times, there are plenty of countries worse off than us. There are worse places than the UK to be running a business.