Wednesday, 7 September 2011

How come this got missed by the MSM?

During David Cameron's appearance yesterday before the Liaison Committee three interesting exchanges took place.

During questioning by Louise Ellman, this occured:
"Q237 Mrs Ellman: European structural funds have given great support to transport and to the economy in more deprived areas of the country. Will that level of structural funding be continued post 2014?
Mr Cameron: I am afraid the answer in the longer run is that, as a relatively well-off country in Europe, we’re not going to be getting as much from structural funds. As you know, the way they work is that areas are eligible if they have less than 75% of the European per capita average. Obviously, when you have countries much poorer than us, such as Bulgaria and Romania, in the European Union, some of whose regions have 30% of the EU per capita income, the structural funds are likely to point in that direction. If we want to keep control of the EU budget-and I profoundly believe that as we are making difficult decisions here, we must do that-we have to accept, as the previous Government accepted, that wealthier countries will not do so well from EU structural funds."
and later:
"Q243 Chair: I think, Prime Minister, you are going to have to go back and have a look at some aspects of this in order to achieve your declared objective of making sure that we access funds that would be available to this country for regional projects, because, of course, the staff who did it in the past have moved from the development agencies to the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the LEPs do not have the match-funding resources that the previous development bodies had. I am not expecting you to answer that question now, but I would very much welcome it if, when you are back at No. 10, you have a look at the way it is working out in practice, in the light of a stated objective.

Mr Cameron: I would be very happy to do that. Just to give you the figures, there is now only one region in the UK that falls below 75% of the EU average, and that is west Wales and the valleys at 71%. Cornwall and the Scilly Isles are exactly 75% and everywhere else is above. Merseyside, for instance, has a GDP per capita of 81% of the EU average. So I think that is the fundamental problem we are going to have over the global picture about how much money there is to access from EU structural funds."
So, not only has our annual contribution to the European Union risen this year, it is also set to rise slightly more next year and Cameron's statement means we will be receiving less of our money back in the future by way of the grant format.

Later, at the end of questions of matters European we read:
"Q260 Mr Cash: Listening to you, Prime Minister, one is left rather with the impression that, yes, you have certain reservations about Europe, but there is something very far short of Eurorealism or Euroscepticism. You are actually rather an enthusiast-are you not?-for the notion of keeping Europe together by the treaty through the European Communities Act. Would you contemplate the idea of having a referendum for the British people on the broader question of whether we should either leave or renegotiate? You’ve committed yourself to renegotiation in a sense, but if it does not work, where does that leave you?

Mr Cameron: I would describe myself as a very practical Eurosceptic. I am sceptical about these grand schemes and utopian visions, but I know that Britain has to be in there fighting for our interests. I think it is right that we stay outside the single currency and outside Schengen, but the single market is in our interest, and that is largely why we’re there. I’ve a very practical approach to it. On the issue of a referendum, I do not favour an in-out referendum, because I don’t actually think that is the question most people in Britain want answered-it is about what sort of Europe. I think we should try to deliver the sort of Europe people want, but knowing that we’ve got, for the first time, a proper guarantee that if there is a proposal to pass power from Westminster to Brussels, the British public will get a vote in a referendum."
With apologies for a long 'lead-in', however I felt it important to quote the exchanges in full, rather than attempting to summarise. 

I have not been able to find any section of the MSM that has picked up on these two points; namely that we will be receiving less of our money back due to the fact that we are now a 'wealthy' country, neither have I seen any section of the MSM pick up on the fact that Cameron may think he knows what the country wants but he cannot know what the country wants unless he asks them - a quandry he has stated he has no intention of rectifying.

Events have moved on since the hearing yesterday and it is worth drawing attention to one other exchange which is related to events today. In the exchange with Bill Cash on the question of a treaty change (Q222) Cameron stated that he thought it some way down the road before any treaty would be proposed. Yet today, in the Open Europe press summary, we are informed that Angela Merkel is stating that a treaty change cannot be ruled out due to the fact that: "There is no rule so far to force the countries to comply with the Stability and Growth Pact. Therefore, treaty changes must not be a taboo in order to achieve more commitment". Also mentioned in the press summary is a Leader in the Times which states: "greater fiscal and political integration is looking likely in the eurozone, meaning that the UK will need to clarify its position in Europe, and this should involve “a new constitutional settlement with Brussels that enshrines the principle of British national sovereignty".

Neither has there been much discussion in the MSM that were negotiations to begin on a new treaty prior to 2015 it would put Cameron on the spot where repatriation of powers is concerned, bearing in mind Clegg has vetoed that outright.

Interesting times ahead, methinks..........

Update: This just seen from EUobserver which related...

5 comments:

The Boiling Frog said...

Great post WfW. Am posting by phone, so won't elaborate too much but the arrogance of the Cameron to assume what the electorate want... Grrrrrrr

Bill said...

Seems that within the hallowed halls of the elite they are not singing from the same sheet. It pays to bear in mind Merkel is under entirely different pressure to Cameron.

A wise politician could finagle their way into exiting Europe and blame the Germans for the exit but there isn't a wise politician in Parliament.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TBF: Thank you!

B: Appreciate your point about Merkel vs Cameron. Noticably yesterday Cameron made the point that 40% of our trade is with Europe but didn't mention that conversely 60% must be with the rest of the world. By exiting the EU that 40% would still be there but on cheaper terms.

Bill said...

WFW you expect too much from the Cameron. At least Thatcher the last Conservative PM did her research or had it done for her but whatever it was always to hand.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Bill: True!But I don't expect too much from Cameron or any other politician - just to do their job!