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26 June 2004

Summary of Strasbourg Election Results

The linked report here from The Japan Times gives a good overview of the end reults of the 10 to 13th June European elections.

20 June 2004

EU Polical Parties Theft from Taxpayers

The following is the latter part of a post to Teetering Tories which is relevant to this blog:-

If that were all, it would not be so bad. But, of course, it is not by any means the whole case! The leaders of the Tory party (as opposed to New Labour) are not stupid, deep down inside they know these truths may indeed be facts. BUT as revealed in yesterday's The Times they are deliberately selling out the interests of their country and our democracy for the money they accrue from the EU Parliament.

To quote that article titled 'Brussel's grant to fund UKIP' anti-EU battle':-

"..the alliances they make with other Eurosceptic groups could allow the party to benefit from more than five million (pounds) of EU money ANNUALLY (my emphasis - ed) for extra staff and resources, on top of the many administrative posts automatically provided by the European Parliament"

Here we have it. The Danegeld levied by our political parties in return for selling out our democracy. Five million a year for a dozen MEPs. This session Britain has about six and a half dozen that is ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY TWO MILLION POUNDS OVER THE NEXT PARLIAMENT.

In the last Parliamentary session, Britain had over eight dozen MEPs netting our professional political parties the incredible sum of more than TWO HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS.

These figures make the amounts individually fiddled by the MEPs themselves even pale into insignificance. Now spread it over the the new maximum number of MEPs ie seven hundred and fifty and the straight theft from taxpayers into the pockets of Europe's democracy stealing politicians comes to EIGHTEEN BILLION SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION POUNDS for one single parliamentary session.

Do not ask yourself ever again why or how Europe's political classes could perpetrate the destruction of an entire continent's democratic heritage as they are now doing. The 'how' is the toothless European Parliament purely existing to siphon funds from the taxpayers to the professional politicians - the 'why' can only be that these people are so low that I would vouch more trustworthy decent and straightforward people may be found in any European jail.

14 June 2004

'Irish Times' Election overview

This is an excerpt from this good summary of the night's results:-

In the Netherlands, the party of Mr Paul van Buitenen, a former Commission official who exposed corruption in Brussels, won two seats. In Austria, Mr Hans-Peter Martin, an MEP who exposed expenses scams in the European Parliament, won more than 14 per cent of the vote.

The article is linked from here


UKIP needed a complete clean sweep at the top if it is toi have any chance of achieving its hugely ambitious objectives. The East Midlands result shows all is possible. Results elsewhere show how easily the chance could be lost.

This result service will resume in the morning with the North West Region and Scotland the only ones yet to declare.

Goodnight. I hope some found this useful.

East Midlands Results

BNP ... 91,860

Conservatives ... 371,362

Greens ...76,623

Labour ...294,00

Lib-Dems ...181,964

UKIP ...366,498

Cons 2
Ukip 2
Lib Dem 1

UKIP nearly beat the Tories, and Kilroy and the dreaded UKIP Disciplinary Committee procedure abuser Derek Clark get elected.

BNP Nationally at 4 per cent

The North West result where BNP leader Nick Griffin is standing, has yet to be declared, so the BNP would seem to be polling ahead of earlier expectations.

The East Midlands are expected to declare in a short mile.

Nattrass on Radio Four

Mike Nattrass, new UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, interviewed on Radio Four seemed ill-prepared, asked about free trade he cited Mexico and 14 per cent, but then handled a follow-up question on West Midland's businesses and the EU regulatory affects more effectively.

East Midlands Recounts

UKIP and the Conservatives are disputing seats with both having shares around 25/29 per cent. A similar situation continues in the North West.

Present projections are putting UKIP ahead of the Lib-dems in the national vote.

Results Comment

Add together the results for the parties other than the three mainstream automatom vote winners, and it would appear the British Political establishment is receiving a loud wake-up call....Will they listen? Not according to their spokesmen and women - it would appear nothing has happened! So far UKIP has 9 MEPs returned already three times their last result with the East Midlands region of Kilroy yet to announce.

West Midlands Results

BNP .......107,794

Conservatives .... 392,937

Greens .....73,991

Labour ....336,313

Lib/Dems ...197,479

UKIP .... 251,366

Conservatives 3
Labour 2
Lib dems 1

New Swedish Eurosceptic Group

Called the June Group - it has polled 15 per cent

Eastern Results

BNP ... 65,557

Conservative .... 465,526

Green ....84,068

Libdems ....211,378


UKIP... 296,160

UKIP were second with Jeffrey Titford certainly elected and probably Tom Wise :BUT THE BBC DID NOT GIVE A SUMMARY OF THE SEATS AND WE MISHEARD MARTIN BELL'S VOTE!

Preferring to break off to discuss corruption with Kinnock ; apt!

13 June 2004

Summary of UKIP MEPS so far


South East Results

Conservatives 776,370


Green 173,351

Labour 301,398

Libdems 338,342

UKIP 431,111

Strong second for UKIP at 19.5 per cent
and a second MEP Ashley Mote joins Nigel Farage MEP.

South West Results

Conservative 457,371

Labour 209,908

BNP 43653

LibDem 265,619

Green 103,821

UKIP 326,784

UKIP second placed with two seats Booth and Knapman.

Social Democratic Opposition win in Denmark

The linked report from EUBusiness may be read this link.

Britain's biggest 'attendance allowance fiddling' MEP Glenys Kinnock, wife of Commission Vice-President, Neil Kinnock has regained her seat in Wales.

UKIP just edged the Libdems in Wales by 96,677 to 96116 but neither get a seat. 2 for Labour, 1 conservative and 1 for Plaid Cymru.

Wales prediction

Libdems just ahead of UKIP in Wales. Labour 2, Conservative 1, Plaid Cymru 1,

Yorkshire Results

Conservatives 387369

BNP 126,538

Labour 413,213

Lib-dem 244,607

UKIP 228,666

Elected Labour 2 Conservative 2 Lib dems 1 UKIP 1

Yorkshire looks likely to win a seat

With nearly all seats in ( one to go) it appears Godfrey Bloom is on his way to join his friend Nigel Farage as an MEP in Brussels.

John Redwood

A summary of this supposed eurosceptics comments:

UKIP vote below the forecasts. Redwood says the BBC have been spinning the UKIP results for two weeks on behalf of the Labour government.

Q. What happens if Howard re-negotiates fisheries and the EU refuses.

A. Thatcher did it so they will agree...it will be live and let live...there are other levers...we could refuse to send money as there is so much fraud.

That would be as effective as John Major's withdrawal of co-operation?

JR Waffle.....they will be more reasonable


JR. Michael Howard is leading us in exactly the direction we want.

Knapman. I wish it was true we could negotiate....what are we to give up?

East Midlands Recount for UKIP

Earlier reports of BNP rowdiness now put down to football disappointment.

Czech Republic setback for ruling EU federalists

20 per cent is the reported figure for euorsceptics

Knapman on Radio Four

'We are not in Europe to make it work!'

West Midlands Lib/Dems look like the losers

In the West Midlands UKIP are running second or third in many areas, but recounts in Birmingham will delay the result.

With Half Scottish results in - Forecast is no change!

The BBC reports that in spite of SNP vote losses best estimates indicate there will be now change in MEP make-up. Results from Scotland will not be final until tomorrow.

FOURTH Recount in Exeter delays SW news. East Midlands and Eastern region continue their recounts.

Birmingham - remains no overall control

More Conservative disappointment

Finland - growing negative view of EU

Liberal 5

Centre Right 3

Far left 1

Green 1

Strong Anti-EU feeling in Austria

Centre right 6

Socialists 7

Others 3

Greens 2

Prodi's Left-alliance ahead in Italy

Berlusconi is reported to be suffering a setback in early returns reported from Rome.

Recount in the East Midlands

The BBC reports difficulties with the BNP have caused a recount in the Kilroy region.

Ken Clarke TORY FEDERALIST on Radio Four

Expects UKIP to get 15 to 20 per cent because Haider did in Austria, and they all read the Telegraph or the Sun. So he says on Radio 4 at 10:15 this evening. Any right-wing ill-informed petty nationalists can be expected to do as well on a protest vote, according to this blustering, interrupting ...

Knapman on BBC World!

UKIP's leader talks of getting Britain out of a political union and seeks a free trade area. Still hoping for 18 seats as indicated by the exit poll. (Pity they disbanded two brilliant local organisations in Yorkshire and the North East and sent a dud candidate to Scotland....all connived in by Knapman!)

North East Declaration

Lib Dems gain a seat. Tory Callanan hangs on! Disgraced former Tory MP UKIP candidate, Piers Merchant fails to get elected. BAD LUCK NEIL!!

London Results

Conservatives 504,000

Labour 455,584

UKIP 232,633

Elected Tories 3, Labour 3, LibDem 1, Ukip 1, Greens 1

Bad luck Damian!!!! 12 per cent for UKIP!

UKIP Looks for 20 pct in SE - Nigel Farage MEP

BBC reports UKIP shooting for two MEPS.

Polish turnout only 15 per cent - Poettering Pontificates

An EU spokesperson on BBC World TV says this is GOOD. Do these people know what TRUTH is????

The British Tories Group Leader Herr Hans-Gert Poettering of the CDU/EPP - arch- Federalist and condoner of commission corruption states himself satisfied with the results.

France WIN 2 -1

Last moment penalty after late equaliser.

UKIP Confident in the Eastern Region

An early announcement expected from St Ives in Cambridgeshire has been delayed. UKIP 'looking confident' according to a BBC reporter.

UKIP in line for a seat in Yorkshire polling 15 to 16 per cent across the region....19 per cent in Presotts' constituency!

26 per cent of UKIP voters come from the Tory vote as against 4 per cent fro Labour according to a BBC report of a YouGov poll

UKIP Confident in the Eastern Region

An early announcement expected from St Ives in Cambridgeshire has been delayed. UKIP 'looking confident' according to a BBC reporter.

UKIP in line for a seat in Yorkshire polling 15 to 16 per cent across the region....19 per cent in Presotts' constituency!

26 per cent of UKIP voters come from the Tory vote as against 4 per cent fro Labour according to a BBC report of a YouGov poll

UK London and SE Regions expected shortly.

UKIP has a spokesperson Malcolm Wood, on BBC Radio 4 coverage with David Willetts, Ming Campbell and the youthful slippery Scot Labour spokesman whose name I never remember, got it...Douglas Alexandre.

A Sky Poll suggests Labour 22, Conservative 22, and UKIP 20, Lib-dems 14.

22 per cent for the major parties in a national poll would be a half-century disaster, as is already proving Malcolm Wood!

Forecast French MEP Seats





Far left.......3

Brussels Report

28.7 per cent turnout in the new joining countries. Governing parties got half the votes of the opposition parties in France and Germany.

'Stunning defeat for Schroeder' Across EU people vote to damage their government or Eurosceptics. National lines prevail.

BBC reporter says "There is no good picture"

Poland below 30 per cent turn out. 13 Polish seats expected for eurosceptics.

East Midlands doubles turnout to 44 per cent UKIP all set in NW

BBC reports most media attention on Kilroy. In the North West they predict the Tories at 3 seats with Labour 2, Lib Dems 2 and UKIP much in evidence with John Whittaker likely for the 8th seat .....9th uncertain.

Apathy in Poland

15 per cent turnout. Eurosceptics hoping for one fifth of the seats.

Kilroy heads BBC Radio Four Soundbites

Blair says UKIP has an easy pitch - its all Europes fault.....Finally he's getting it!!!!!!!

UK Turnout Figures 38 per cent Significant UKIP Gains!

BBC finally ANNOUNCES the well known facts. Democracy shamed in another EU SHAM.

"First UK results within the next hour" - BBC News

HOW LONG HAVE OUR RULERS KNOWN THEM???????????????????????


Nowadays they run a football tournament to distract you from your loss of democratic rights. England v France in theIR opening group game of the European Chamionship - run concurrently with the clearly manipulated announcement of the votes we cast FOUR DAYS AGO!!!!

Fishy or what! Wake up England! (and the rest of us!) By the way 1 - 0 to England at half time!

The farcial nature of this so-called exercise in democracy can be seen in this report from EUobserver linked here makes clear that 70 per cent of German MEPs were already sure of a place some days ago.

Visit Teetering Tories to see the insufferable arrogance of my Tory Constituency MEP, Daniel Hannan, who writes a column today in a Sunday newspaper saying there will never be democracy in the EU, with a title flaunting the fact he will continue to ignore my letters. Insufferable arrogance - especially from an MEP who in an earlier speech included Switzerland amongst the enslaved EU countries - just the sort of ignorance we must expect when candidates please only parties rather than electors!

Worst German SPD result for 50 years

Schroeder's SPD looks likely to poll only half the votes of their Christian Democratic rivals: 23 per cent compared with 46 per cent according to CNN reports.

French Government Snubbed by Socialists!

Early exit polls indicate that Chirac's party has only polled close to 17 per cent against almost 30 per cent for their socialist opponents!

French Exit Polls

Left Parties 42.4

Right Parties 37.7

Extreme Right 10.4

French Turnout 42.5 per cent

Polling booths close within two minutes and France TV 2 announces turnout in the European elections at only 42.5 per cent compared to 47.8 last time!

Zero score - Zero EU Interest

Final score Switzerland 0 .... Croatia 0

Schroeder's SPD SMASHED?

Bloomberg report linked here

Support for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's party tumbled in elections to the European Parliament as voters across Europe protested everything from rising unemployment to the Iraq war.

Schroeder's Social Democrats probably picked up 22.9 percent of the vote, the party's worst showing in a Germany-wide election since World War II, ARD television projections showed. The opposition Christian Democrats scored 46.3 percent, ARD said.

Low turnout across Europe

The iht reports:-

In new and old member nations alike, however, politicians struggled to overcome voter apathy. In Poland, turnout was only 5.83 percent by noon, the electoral commission said.

French Voter Turnout

National abstentions reported at 1850 CET is 57.4 per cent confirming mass disinterest and a drop of around 4 per cent from 1999.
Polls in France close in one hours time so this cannot be a final figure!

EU Parliament Election Results and Comment

Commencing no later than 2000 GMT postings on the above will be placed on this blog

We will try to keep fully updated as the evening progresses and the results arrive. I will be monitoring the national braodcasters of France and Italy as well as the international broadcasters CNN and BBC World Television for the latest news and inside comment. From the UK we will monitor the 'Five Live' radio broadcast and comment!






12 June 2004

Giving the EU the Finger

The concluding paragraph of a RTE news report from Ireland states this:

The results of the European Parliament elections cannot be announced until polls close throughout other EU member states tomorrow evening.

It is linked from here and follows a whole page of EU interim voting results.

Now that is the only way to survive in the EU - ignore all their stupid rules, and handle all other matters on a similar basis.

Blair's announcement that he will hold an extremely unusual Sunday evening 'lobby' meeting on Sunday at 5:00 pm indicates that not all in the UK are ignorant of the European Parliamentary results. One more example of selective democratic rights negating the whole concept - or elitism!

10 June 2004

FT criticises corruption

The fanatically federalist Financial Times waits until the polls are almost closed in Britain, before publishing an article critical of the disgusting practises of the European parliamentarians. The article is linked from here, the following being selective quotes:-

The European parliament is supposed to be the ultimate expression of pan-European democracy but for many voters it has become synonymous with a less-exulted concept: the "gravy train".

For all the thankless legislative work members perform in areas from oil tanker safety to financial services regulation, some voters suspect their efforts are mainly devoted to lining their own pockets.....

On top of their salaries, which are paid according to the rate of MPs in an MEP's national parliament, deputies are entitled to a raft of allowances that can top up incomes by more than ?100,000 ($120,000, £66,000) a year.

The most lucrative is the regime for travel expenses, paid on each journey according to the most costly, flexible economy-class fare. No receipt is required, so MEPs can travel on a budget airline and pocket the difference.

Then there is the secretarial allowance of ?150,000 a year, which some MEPs choose to pay to family members, and even a late taxi allowance that kicks in when the parliament's chauffeurs go off duty at 10pm.

The perk most recently in the spotlight is the ?262 daily attendance allowance, which is claimed by signing a register and covers accommodation, taxis and other costs

09 June 2004




Strasbourg Sleaze not enough!

As if there were not enough problems over expense allegations, the EU Parliament is now having to answer queries about being a potential haven for criminals. Read the EUBusiness report from here.

08 June 2004

MEPs Pledge to end Perks Abuses

The smell of fear stalks the walkways of Starsbourg, as candidates in the coming European elections sense the widespread outrage at the MEPs systematic abuse of the allowances system to the huge cost of Europe's taxpayers.

The print edition of the International Herald Tribune makes this topic its headline article this morning, a clear sign of the pan-European disgust at the deputies abuses. These same supposed representatives of the people, who only recently turned a blind eye to the EU Commissions' disgraceful handling of matters of corruption by overwhelmingly voting down a motion of censure, now expect us to take their word on reform in the next session. SEND THEM PACKING! THEY HAD THEIR CHANCES OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS! Experience proves that the word of none connected with the EU can be trusted one inch!

The facts are all available from this blog, and have been for months in spite of the IHT's claim to have been first to have brought this matter to the public's attention, but only as recently as 24th May, 2004. The article is linked from here and titled ' EU deputies vowing to give up their perks'

Eurosceptics to hold balance of power in new Parliament

Such is one forecast contained in this report on the UK Independence Party's opinion poll advances and celebrity candidate in an EU Business report linked from here.

07 June 2004

Tory MEPs Accused of Sleaze

The Guardian linked here reports that Tory MEPs voted for a motion to award past MEPs yet more obscene perks - this time for thirty thousand pounds a year private health payments for past MEPs not then eligible. My presumption from the nature of the report is that existing MEPs therefore presumably already enjoy such a benefit? The article is titled:-

'Greedy' Tory MEPs provoke perks row.

YouGov Poll

The latest YouGov poll in today's Daily Telegraph linked here reports that 73 pct of those asked believed that EU officials, MEPs are paid too much, have too lavish expenses. The same number 73 per cent believe There is too much corruption,mismanagement and cronyism in EU decisionmaking, management.

One wonders where the other 27 per cent have been recently.

06 June 2004

One million seven hundred thousand pound EU HQ (but don't tell the voters)

The following are extracts from an article that appeared in the Daily Mail last Tuesday, written by its Political Editor:

'The European Parliament is keeping plans to move to LS 1.7million a-year offices under wraps until after next week's Euro elections so as not to annoy voters....

The move has been approved by the Strasbourg based Parliament's budgetary committee.

But sources in Brussels say it has been deliberately put on hold because of 'political sensitivity'.

The Parliament's lease on its current premises in Queen Anne's Gate is about to expire...

..one Brussels source said the move had been agreed and officials are waiting until after the June 10 elections before proceeding.

"There is no way they were going to announce it in the run-up to the elections" the source said.'

05 June 2004

EU Subsidies

In Britain we are kept in the dark about where all the unaudited EU funds might go. That is not the case in Denmark however where this summary of payments published on 3rd June 2004 is now circulating on the internet:-



Data – EU agricultural subsidies
By Nils Mulvad and Kjeld Hansen

This page was published on 3 June 2004


Amongst the top scorers in 2003 are Arla Foods that received DKK1.3
billion, Danish Crown that received DKK119.6 million and The Danish
Institute of Agricultural Sciences that received DKK111.1 million.

The Danish Agricultural Centre for Advisory Services received DKK 29.9
million and even the board of Danish Agriculture carries great weight.
The 21 board members including Peter Gæmelke, Henrik Høegh and Gert
Karkov, who is the chairman of the board, received DKK8.9 million in
total during 2003.

Even politicians do not hold back. Four out of 18 ministers – or their
spouses – receive annual payments from the EU:

Mariann Fischer Boel, Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries,
receives DKK389,702,

Ulla Tørnæs, Minister of Education, receives DKK487,490,

Thor Petersen, Minister for Finance, receives DKK139,799 and

Bent Bendtsen, Minister for Economic and Business Affairs, receives
DKK1,841.[a zero on the end ?]

Previous ministers are also included in the subsidy regimes and receive
substantial annual amounts in addition to their retirement fee, e.g.
Niels Anker Kofoed (DKK123,169) and

Britta Schall Holberg (DKK93,850 ).

A number of the current members of the Danish Parliament receive
agricultural subsidies from the EU. Especially members of the Danish
Liberal-Democratic Party are listed among the receivers of subsidies,
i.e. during 2003 Jens Vibjerg received a grant of DKK74,396 and Jens
Kirk DKK241,871.

Niels Busk Simonsen, who is a Liberal-Democratic veteran member of the
EU Parliament, received a generous complement to his annual EU salary
DKK295,837 during 2003.

The royal family is among the larger receivers of agricultural
subsidies. During 2003, Prince Joakim received agricultural subsidies
worth DKK1.4 million for the maintenance of his estate Schackenborg.

The Knuthenborg estate received DKK2.0 million in 2003.

Amongst the controversial proprietors of agricultural subsidies are the
shareholder of Bang & Olufson, Peter Skak Olufsen, who receives DKK2.6
million as a contribution to the maintenance of Fiil-Sø A/S,

the baron of Gavnø, Otto Redtz-Thott, who received DKK2.4 million and
Peter Andersen, the son-in-law of Mr. Brask Thomsen, who received
million for the maintenance of the Overgåard estate.

During 2003, Poul Husted received a total of DKK2.9 million for Aalholm
Castle using 8 different registration numbers, which is why he does not
figure on the list of recipients that receive more than DKK1 million.

Bregnetved and WEFRI A/S, (Wedellsborg-Frijsenborg), are amongst the
largest real agricultural farms and receive DKK7.3 and DKK5.2 million
respectively. Some of the receivers of the agricultural subsidies have
had bad publicity which in the case of Lynggård ApS arose due to the
misuse of medicine. Lynggård ApS received DKK957,731. Furthermore, the
estate of A/S Eskelund had excess production of pork, however, was
still granted DKK1.7 million during 2003.


In a landmark posting on Dr Richard North's Blog EU Referendum, the details of political party's funding by the EU is revealed in horrifying detail. The full article should be read from his blog and may be reached by clicking on the title: 'Money down the drain'. The early part of the post refers to an opinion article by Charles Moore, in today's Telegraph, not relevant to the topic of this blog, I will therefore only quote the subsequent portion here:-


Herein, though, lies a story which has yet to be told, which demonstrates how devastatingly crass the whole EPP saga has been. It is a story about money, power and influence – but mainly about money.

Poorly understood by outsiders, European Parliament political groups are the driving force in the parliament, dictating the agendas, organising the voting and generally running the business of the parliament through the "conference of presidents", made up from the leaders (presidents) of all the different groups. The groups are also the prototype European political parties, much encouraged by the EU as a means of sidelining national parties and furthering political integration.

To promote their development – and this is the crucial point – the parliament is extremely generous in funding the groups, providing an income stream entirely separate from, and additional to the MEPs' own personal expenses and allowances. Unsurprisingly, the groups are extremely reluctant to give details of the extent of this largesse, and do not produce public accounts. But we do know that the budget of the smallest group in the EP (the Group of European Democracies Diversities – EDD) has an annual budget of about one million euros annually, say about £650,000.

This has allowed the eighteen MEPs of the EDD to secure additional staff, roughly in a ratio of 1:3, just over 40 staff. Thus, each MEP benefits from an additional three workers, over and above those they fund from their own secretarial allowances. Furthermore, these workers, based in Brussels and provided with full office facilities, come with their overheads paid, so the group funding is actually worth more than the bottom line figure.

By contrast, when I last enquired, the Tory group in the EPP, with twice the number of MEPs as the whole of the EDD, had a group staff roll of just seven people – when on the same ratio as the EDD, they could be entitled to up to over 100, depending on precisely how they spent their money.

Actually this is possibly an over-estimate as group funds are not disbursed in direct proportion to the size of the group, but on a sliding scale, the smaller groups getting a larger per capita allowance. However, there can be no dispute that the Tory component within the EPP qualify for very close to – if not over - £1 million a year of group funding, of which very little actually goes anywhere near the Tories, being absorbed in the EPP global fund.

On the face of it, therefore, the Tory MEP group is giving away something close to £1 million a year to a Europhile, federalist group, which uses the money to pursue an overtly federalist agenda. This is not what most Tory voters expect – and it gets worse.

One thing UKIP has arranged extremely well is the pooling of its MEPs’ secretarial allowances – roughly £105,000 each, annually. With minimal amounts taken for their own personal staff, they use the rest to finance party staff working to the common agenda. Each of the Tory MEPs gets the £105,000 but they pay only a small subvention to Tory Central Office for central services, and pocket the rest, to spend as they wish.

With 36 MEPs, that sum collectively amounts £3.8 million a year - or £19 million for the full five-year parliamentary term. Allowing the MEPs even to keep a fairly generous fifty percent of their allowances, and pooling the rest, that leaves £1.9 million - £2 million in round figures - a year. Add the group funding of approximately £1 million and the Tory group could marshal something like £3 million a year. The obvious outlet for that money is to spend it on policy research and development – the crying need in the Conservative Party – and a perfectly legitimate way of spending the money.

To put this in perspective, the Conservative Party is paid £4 million a year from public funds for the function of policy research and development – the so-called "short money". Clearly, this is not enough, and another £3 million a year would make a powerful addition to the fund. Furthermore, with the Party currently admitting to a £2.5 million overdraft, the EP money would make a sizeable dent in the deficit.

In short, therefore, the Tory group – in continuing to cosy up to the EPP – is throwing shed-loads of money down the drain, money which is vitally necessary for the Party to expand its woefully inadequate research function. In fact, it is worse than that. It is giving money to the "enemy". Thus, Mr Moore may want to vote Tory but, as he admits, Mr Howard's Party is not making it very easy for him. Actually, he understates the case. A vote for Tory MEPs at the moment is the equivalent of writing a very large cheque for federalism.

They do indeed deserve a bad result.

More on perks and pensions

The Belfast Telegraph linked here returns to the scandal of allowances and perks:-

They want your votes, but you haven't heard much about the lifestyles you're voting for. Making one's voice heard, among 732 members of the European Parliament representing 25 countries, is going to be harder than ever, but there are compensations.

Even with 15 countries, the benefits and expenses cost more than £55m a year, and when members from the far-flung new nations are added, travel perks are going to escalate.

Whatever they actually pay for flights to Brussels, MEPs can claim the highest economy fare. At least 30 members hire their relatives as aides and there are allowances for taxis, free language lessons and attendance, even on business-free days.

As members are paid at the rate of their country's MPs, expenses are intended to compensate members from poorer countries. Think what that will mean for MEPs from the former communist States, where ordinary salaries can be a tenth of the European norm.

Pensions are equally generous. If you've served at least five years, you retire at 60 with £800 a month - admittedly a let-down for one Finnish MEP who claims to be on £13,000 a month.

03 June 2004

Martin Bell will shun "Gravy Train"

EDP24 reports that the Eastern Region candidate, Martin Bell, has declared five pledges to clean up the image of Strasbourg and accuses other parties of seeking to bury discussion of the practises that so shame all who attend the Strasbourg Parliament.

Stating that some MEPs had used their positions "not to represent their constituents but to line their own pockets", he issued five pledges that would help to "clean up the practices and perceptions of the European Parliament" and appealed to all candidates to make them.

..........He pledged that, if elected, he would: "Not sign on for sessions of the European Parliament that I do not attend. Reimburse that part of the general expenditure allowance for office expenses that I do not actually spend. Open my expense accounts to public scrutiny on a monthly basis. Not employ any of my relatives. Work from a constituency address that really exists."

Is it not quite astounding that any MEP candidate should find it necessary to pledge to undertake such normal and honest practises, all of us would consider perfectly usual in any form of employment - Let alone an elected position funded by taxpayers supposed undertaken in service of the community?

The entire article may be read from this link. It can be slow to load but carries some items of interest regarding the automatic office allowances of nearly four thousand euros a month, and the reactions of other Eastern Region existing troughers!

02 June 2004

MEP Allowances Dominate Dutch Campaign

The following quote is from the EUobserver election round-up linked from here:-

The Netherlands
Following a row over European Parliament allowances involving three Christian MEPs, the issue of expenses continues to play a big role in the Dutch European election campaign. The Labour Party and the Greens have together proposed stricter codes of conduct for MEP`s. Labour’s Max van den Berg and Kathalijne Buitenweg of the Greens are pushing for MEPs to report their expenses on a yearly basis and that auditors should demand receipts for all costs incurred. The Liberal parties, the VVD and D66 and the Christian Democrats are crying foul over the proposal claiming they were not informed in advance. "This is an electoral stunt", said the liberal MEP Jules Maaten. "It is very peculiar that I have not been informed".

Meanwhile, Paul van Buitenen, who blew the whistle on fraud and financial irregularities within the Commission during his time there, has announced he will claim all allowances possible, without sending any money back to the account of the Parliament. Mr Van Buitenen said he would use the large allowance sums for his fight against fraud and for transparency.

9:00 am - Champagne in Strasbourg - 'Time Magazine'

A quote from the most recent edition of the US news magazine (linked here):-

The clock has not yet struck 9 a.m., but the champagne is already flowing at the European Parliament. Here in a wood-paneled room at the Parliament's Strasbourg headquarters, M.E.P.s from Finland's Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) gather with journalists to go over the week's agenda. The tables are laden with fresh fruit salad, yogurt and pastries, and a bow-tied waiter glides around topping up flutes of Moët. This is the sort of scene that comes to mind when you think of the European Parliament: a plush talking shop where politicians spend vast sums in pursuit of some vague European ideal. Is this cliché all there is to the place?

01 June 2004

The Cost of Strasbourg

The following appeared in the Financial Times linked from here and quoted below:-

MEPs still trekking to Strasbourg
By Raphael Minder in Brussels
Published: May 31 2004 20:06 | Last Updated: May 31 2004 20:06

Last September, the European parliament agreed to pay €445.6m ($539m, £246m) to buy the Strasbourg building where members meet once a month.

The little-publicised real estate transaction showed that MEPs recognise there is almost no chance of ending one of the most visible inefficiencies of their institution - the expensive commute between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.

The cost of what many MEPs describe as a travelling circus has risen to €203m from €169m a year - 16 per cent of the parliament's total budget - following the European Union's enlargement from 15 to 25 member states on May 1.

Strasbourg was chosen in 1952 as a temporary home for the parliament because Brussels lacked a suitable building and the Alsatian city was seen to symbolise post-war reconciliation between France and Germany. The French government then succeeded in convincing its EU partners to keep Strasbourg as a second home.

Reversing that decision would now require unanimous approval from member states, but France has shown fierce determination to maintain the Strasbourg seat. In 1997, the French government even fought and won a court case to prevent the parliament from scrapping one of the 12 sessions held each year in Strasbourg.

Last month, Claudie Haigneré, the French minister for European affairs, told a Strasbourg press conference that "there is a strong determination to use Strasbourg as efficiently as possible."

Underlining this commitment, she said the French government was pushing to improve transport connections between Strasbourg and other parts of Europe and cut the journey for MEPs to half-a-day at the most.

In November 2002, prospective MEPs from the 10 new member states invited to Strasbourg even got a special taste of things to come when the airport had to be closed for most of the day after two deer strayed on to the runway, forcing 29 flights to be diverted. Strasbourg is also one of the few large French cities not served by the TGV high-speed train.

Ms Haigneré's intervention coincided with a list of grievances presented by a group of reform-minded MEPs, which included a demand to leave Strasbourg. Chris Davies, a British MEP, said: "The reality is that Strasbourg, despite the best efforts of the French government, is not well served and not at the heart of Europe."

The Strasbourg home has proved inconvenient for the European Commission, the EU's executive, whose members have to travel to the city during the parliamentary session to answer questions from MEPs.

Perhaps most strikingly, the arrival of MEPs for the Strasbourg session is always preceded by that of six or seven rented lorries from Brussels and two from Luxembourg, filled with documents required for the session.

Luxembourg is also firmly anchored as one of the assembly's homes, following an accord between the parliament and Luxembourg that stipulates that at least half of the parliament's permanent staff must be based in Luxembourg.

The parliament acquired the Strasbourg building from a publicly owned Alsatian property company, a move the assembly justified because it was cheaper than renting the building and the price agreed was €35m less than earlier estimates. However, the glass structure of the Strasbourg building, inaugurated in 1999, has won more plaudits for external beauty than for its suitability as a workplace. Many MEPs complain about the cramped working spaces.

Moreover, cynics also argue that complicated trips allow parliamentarians to pocket more money from their generous reimbursement scheme for travel expenses. Last month, defenders of Strasbourg, led by French and German MEPs, managed to block a non-binding proposal to quit Strasbourg in a 260 to 231 vote.

Still, reformists also appear determined to keep the Strasbourg issue alive. Cecilia Malmström, a Swedish MEP, said: "It's important to show our citizens that there are some MEPs who feel the situation is awkward and that, if we could, we would change this tomorrow."

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