20, February, 2020
That’s what David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament called the draft €1 Trillion budget for 2021-27, prepared by the Commission and the Council. He was speaking at a press conference at the European Council of 20 February,
Why was it ‘unacceptable‘?
Was he defending the taxpayer at this extravagance? No. He wants more money, more taxes for spending on European projects.
Cutting the money on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) leaves citizens ‘undefended‘, he said. ‘The Parliament is vigilant,‘ he added. ‘We will defend the citizens of Europe. We will make sure that the Union’s programmes are financed in a way that is adequate for that purpose.‘
So what is adequate? How much money should be designated for agriculture?
The same message came from French President Emmanuel Macron. The European Council was called to deal with the European budget, 2021-2027, he said. The first priority that he mentioned as he entered the European Council building was the CAP.
‘The CAP has allowed us to provide food for Europeans since the 1960s,’ he said. ‘It is a great success for France and Europe.’
Then he revealed that there were plans to increase the budget to give realisation to further plans.
Let’s stop at Agriculture, seeing this is the priority topic. The drafts of the budget from the Commission and the Council all foresee about 30 per cent of the budget going on agriculture. Parliament would like to see an even bigger budget in general.
So how much does the Agriculture sector represent in the total economy of the EU? Thirty percent? Nowhere near! Not even close to twenty percent or even ten.
Agriculture represents a smidgen above ONE percent of the economy. European agriculture is efficient. It does not employ many people. So why does it need so much of the European tax-payers’ money? What about Technology and jobs for the future? What is the reaction of European tax-payers? Is it discussed inside the luxurious chamber where the heads of government meet?
The truth is we do not know. The sessions are secret. Doors are closed and governments divide the tax money according to how they wish to influence their most important people — their voters or their bosses.
Since the 1960s France has led the other States by the nose. It was the big nose of General de Gaulle. He decided to sabotage the democratic system of Robert Schuman. De Gaulle decided that the majority of the European Communities‘ budget should be spent on agriculture. His voters were men of the soil and it was the way he could show he was a patriot– getting the Germans to pay for French cheeses.
Money would go to the big landowners. Up till recently the list of who got the CAP money was SECRET! Is something smelling foul? — and it’s not cheese!
Far from a success story, the CAP really got out of hand. In 1985 70 per cent of the European budget was spent on agriculture. Brussels used the budget to keep buying French and other farm products as if there was no tomorrow. That is when all the agricultural products built up into huge unmanageable stockpiles and lakes. There were beef mountains, wine lakes, milk lakes. These meat products were shoved into more and more fridges, wine of all sorts was converted into alcohol or other products and milk into powder. All the alternative uses for these products was sought until Europeans were bloated and distended.
Europe was stuffed to the gunnels with farm products — all thanks to the CAP. Export markets were full too. So the Brussels people sold off what they could at knock down prices to the Soviet Union — the enemy of the Cold War! So the poor citizens paid high prices for their food while at the same time subsidising the Communist take-over of Europe!
The CAP was a corruption bomb that the UK was unable to defuse. When UK joined the European Communities in 1973, the British agricultural system was supported on an entirely different system, deficiency payments. UK did not have enough land to sustain its people entirely for their food needs. During the world war, Britons tried to grow as much as possible. Afterwards, the UK relied on the Commonwealth for imports, whether grain from Canada or lamb and butter from New Zealand. These countries were far more efficient than the Continent.
The sly Gaullist Foreign Minister, Maurice Couve de Murville, told Britain during the negotiations that they would have to change their buying habits and buy from the Continent. He did not have to say that that meant France above all. Everyone knew it.
So the origins of the CAP are not exactly built on the best deal for the people. CAP meant more expensive food. it also meant votes for the Gaullists.
The British vowed that they would stop this crazy scheme before it got out of hand. The amount of the Community budget spent on the CAP reached SEVENTY PER CENT in 1985 before it started to decline a little. France and Italy and some other countries had choice land and had some of the most corrupt practices including wine made out of chemicals and olive plantations with no olive trees.
The British had within easy reach a success story for reforming the out-of-control CAP. It was in the Treaty of Rome itself. All they had to do was to get the other ministers to follow the treaty articles that specify that the CAP must be under democratic control.
UK failed. Hence Brexit.
The European Economic Community treaty signed in Rome in 1957 has a whole chapter on the Agricultural Community. It calls for full democratic control in a common organisation — an agricultural committee under the Economic and Social Committee — to supervise prices and supplies for the benefit of three categories:
- workers and
They were never implemented! Consumers have never had a voice! But they paid for the corrupt practice and high prices!
Thus the European Council is celebrating behind closed doors one of the greatest international fraud machines of all time. They are also celebrating the exit of their greatest but in the end ineffectual critic, the United Kingdom.
And today on 20 February 2020 they are preparing for seven more years of the same scam in the Multiannual Budget 2021-2027
David Heilbron Price