This article was originally published on The Conservative Online
The United Kingdom is one of the principal bankrollers of the EU budget, sending monstrous amounts of taxpayers’ money over to Brussels every year. Our gross membership fee of the corrupt club was set at £17 billion in 2016! This money could undoubtedly be better spent on domestic priorities – such as supporting the NHS or increasing our defence budget – rather than financing ludicrous European Commission projects, which often serve no benefit to the Great British Public, and in many cases act as some form of propaganda.
There are widely reported cases of EU misspending, such as €666 million on unused airports in several European countries, or sending a supposed “loan” of €874,309 to Mozambique. However, such hare-brained projects do not exist in isolation, and merely represent the tip of the iceberg of a culture of uncontrolled, irresponsible and thoughtless expenditure permeating throughout the Commission.
Below are just a few examples of the disgraceful wastes of money we at Get Britain Out have uncovered:
One lucky small-scale farmer must have felt he won the lottery when the Commission threw tens of thousands of Euros at him to look into “business opportunities from donkey milk”. The stated aims of his scheme, based in Tuscany, was to develop cosmetics and make-up, as well as more traditional dairy products. However, very little came to fruition from the use of this money; the “production of yoghurt was abandoned”, and the project’s website omits to mention how far they got with donkey’s milk make-up….
Perhaps more worrying, although equally ludicrous, was the ‘Battle of the Bands’ event organised in Umbria and costing €100,000. Interjected between the acts, the Commission used the opportunity to infuse the concert with pro-EU propaganda, informing the audience about the benefits of the EU and how it could change their lives for the better! The initiative was deemed such a glowing success there are plans in place to extend it to the whole of Italy. With growing Euroscepticism and youth unemployment there at 35.1% as a result of the Euro, the Commission is clearly pulling out all the stops to attempt to curry favour with future generations of Italian voters.
A further €400,000 has been set aside during the 2014-2020 budget to finance “a cheese experience centre” in Central Netherlands. Described as an “innovative enterprise”, the ‘experience’ takes place in an abandoned warehouse and ran into problems early on. The proprietor did not even have the necessary cheese expertise to make the project a success, and as a result, even more money was pumped into the centre to allow for someone with basic knowledge to be hired!
On a much larger scale, the Commission’s ‘Creative Europe’ scheme has been granted a staggering budget of €1.46 billion between the years 2014-2020. Dealing with industries such as music, film and TV, ‘Creative Europe’ seeks to bring about transnational cooperation in these disciplines and promote European culture. This sees disgustingly extravagant prizes being presented to the winners of countless vain and egocentric competitions such as the ‘European Border Breakers Awards’, siphoning money away from domestic British concerns and into the pockets of already affluent and successful musicians. Moreover, ‘Creative Europe’ is guilty of running a litany of ludicrous ‘artistic’ projects.
For instance, €200,000 was given to the “Puppet Nomad Academy” to allow young puppeteers in Sweden, Slovenia, Czechia, Bulgaria and Croatia to interact with ‘masters’ of the discipline. Meanwhile, the ‘JR Circus’ group also received around €200,000 with the ambition of using “circus art as a powerful vehicle of active partnership and social transformation”. If neither of these take your fancy, then you could always attend the “Cartoon Forum” in Toulouse. Run at a cost of nearly half a million Euros, this project’s nonsensical aims are to create a “network of European broadcasters specialised in animation” as well as developing “Synergies” with other industries.
The proposed Divorce Bill of £39 billion – extracted from Britain by the European Union and which they will only receive if they properly arrange a mutually beneficial free trade deal – is vital for the continuation of many bizarre ventures such as these. It is up to them how they spend it, but no doubt it would provide incompetent Commissioners with further funds to invest in future absurdities.
Clearly, a key benefit once we Get Britain Out of the EU, will be taking back control of large swathes of our money from the hands of unaccountable and reckless European elites. For far too long our money has been wasted by bureaucrats who suffer no consequences for their reckless spending on, what are essentially, projects to enhance the profile of the EU. These funds can then be used to address issues of major concern to the Great British Public, such as reducing hospital waiting times, helping the younger generations to get a foot on the housing ladder, and ensuring our armed forces are properly trained and equipped.
Robert Bates is a Research Executive at cross-party grassroots campaign Get Britain Out