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Staff Budget 01

EU Staff and the Budget Crisis
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EU Staff and the Budget Crisis



War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength” taken from George Orwell's 1984.

2% of the people control half of the wealth. Remember that the mass media are very strongly influenced by these plutocrats (names like Berlusconi and Murdoch spring to mind). The political class co-ordinates the 2% with the 98% who own the other half of wealth and have to earn their living. Now put yourself in the place of a politician. 2% of the vote is not enough to get into high office, so you need to offer something (at least promises) to the 98%. However, you must never seriously antagonize the plutocrats who control the major media which are your means of attracting votes.

This leaves the politician balancing precariously on a tight rope between the 2% and the 98%. At least half of what he does must be acceptable to the 2%, better more. But he must also please the 98% as much as the plutocrats will tolerate.

The poor politicians cannot admit to the 98% that their interests are only worth, at best, as much as those of the 2%. The seeming dishonesty is not a character defect, but an occupational disease. Having made that clearer, let us turn to the on-going EU budget crisis.

After the end of the summit, President Barroso said in his conclusion that the "the Commission keeps on fighting for a modernised budget that puts growth and jobs creation at its heart." It is Council and Parliament that decide, but his intensions are good.

Before the summit, Council President van Rompuy promised to defend staff, but after the summit he changed his position alarmingly. These are his words.

"We must work on a moderation budget. The times call for it. Every euro must be carefully spent. That's why we foresee more scrutiny and reporting." A simple pro-rata calculation indicates that if the extra 80 billion EUROs are cut from each section of the budget proportionally, 16% of the EU jobs will be destroyed in the name of moderate austerity. More scrutiny and reporting with 16% fewer posts? There are no proposals for boosting the public service's efficiency by clever re-organisation. All that is planned is to take money away from the employees and transfer it into the accounts banksters who have mis-speculated; bailouts. The governments of the Member States are themselves obstacles on the way to a more efficient European Public Service because they persist in placing their political appointees into the highest positions without making them pass the otherwise compulsory competitive examinations. It is just these appointees who receive the fabulous six digit salaries that are then used a bludgeon against the rest of staff. Reducing the income of those who never sat an exam to get their job might seem an obvious starting point, but Member State governments take care of their own.

"Everybody also agrees on another point: this must be a budget for growth. A budget that focuses on jobs, on innovation, on research. That's why in my proposal the spending on competitiveness and jobs is more than 50% higher than in the period 2007-2013. …..

My proposal, compared again to the previous version, includes increases in agriculture and cohesion funds, with total figures for these headings still lower than in the Commission proposal. It compensates these shifts with cuts in other areas."

Agricultural subsidies do not fit in with jobs, innovation and research. It is true enough that CAP has been significantly improved during the last three decades. But agricultural surpluses and massive fraud remain. When CAP data was first published in Germany a few years ago, journalists had a field day; some of the biggest subsidies were going to airport owners, not farmers. They had bought up lots of land with a view to expanding their capacities one day. In the mean time they cheerfully pocketed EU money for not planting crops on their future runways. Many millionaires collect their unfair share of the subsidies. About jobs; Europe has 2% fewer farmers each year. What about innovation and research; do we really want to follow the United States down the road to Frankenstein food? What is the point of boosting agricultural output when we have to subsidize our food exports?


President van Rompuy's proposal to boost farm subsidies on the one hand and to cripple the European Public Service on the other is not even penny wise, but it is very Euro foolish. If 16% of our work is stopped, waste and fraud will devour all savings. If that work is contracted out, costs will rise because private companies work for profit. Obviously, a 16% cut will be very welcome to the lobbyists who are ready to draft the EU's regulations and directives on behalf of their client corporations.

There are still reasons to hope and to protest against disastrous austerity.

The governments of Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy have indicated opposition further cuts in the administrative budget. If even one of them sticks to this position, there is no unanimity in Council and that is a good thing for staff.

TFEU Article 314 covers the budgetary procedure in detail. Article 315 spells out that if no new budget is agreed between Council and EP, the old budget is reused. Staff and all Europeans are better off with the current budget than with what is being proposed. Therefore those working and negotiating against austerity have no reason to give in. Seen in this light, a few months or even years on the pre-austerity budget would be a good thing.

There are plenty of anti-austerity Members in the EP who deserve support from staff. Send them emails, Christmas cards, phone their offices, tell their assistants what you think of austerity. You can even ask to see your representative in person and give him or her a break from the parade of sleazy lobbyists. Do not underestimate the impact of a citizen speaking out!

Every assembly, every demonstration, every strike improves our position. We should oppose austerity at our workplace and take part in the protest of the indignes, the uncut and others who are on our side.

Every signature that you collect for Petition 847/2011 is a step forward on the way to saving jobs.








Created by: admin last modification: Friday 30 of November, 2012 [14:46:25 UTC] by admin

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