Yesterday, the European Parliament carried out a series of votes on the catchily titled ‘Report on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2014‘ – in essence, a series of proposals on economic and budgetary matters.
So far, so boring.
Amid all the jargon, though, was something rather important. Here’s paragraph 44 of the report:
“[The European Parliament] Recalls its view that the fiscal situation of Member States can be eased through a new system of own resources to finance the Union budget that will reduce gross national income contributions, thus enabling Member States to meet their consolidation efforts without jeopardising EU funding to support investment in economic recovery and reform measures; underlines, therefore, the importance it attaches to the new high-level group on own resources, which should lead to a true reform of EU financing;”
In translation, “a new system of own resources” means the idea of the EU being able to create and raise its own taxes, taken directly from individuals and companies. One of the most fundamental powers of the nation state would be taken up by Brussels.
The motivation for such a huge step towards EU integration is as follows: “enabling Member States to meet their consolidation efforts without jeopardising EU funding to support investment in economic recovery and reform measures”.
There it is in black and white – not only does the EU want to have its own tax-raising powers, it wants them specifically in order to stop national governments being able to reduce the amount paid into the EU budget. This is the fiscal enabler to allow Brussels to wield fiscal power without the consent of democratically elected national governments.
Having been burned by recently being forced to accept a cut in their budget, the eurocrats are apparently intent on preventing that from ever happening again.
Conservative (and UKIP) MEPs voted against the proposal for obvious reasons. To their shame, Labour and the Lib Dems enthusiastically voted in favour of it.
As Syed Kamall MEP puts it:
“Conservative MEPs and the Conservative Government have just delivered the first ever cut to the EU’s overall budget, showing that we are beginning to win the argument about bringing down the cost of Europe. Now the Liberals and Socialists want to hand Brussels the right to stick its own hand straight in our citizens’ pockets.”
It’s bad enough that Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg don’t want the people to have a say on our EU membership , and want to continue handing billions to Brussels. Now they want an EU which can tax us directly, too.