Business as usual in Europe. From The Telegraph.
Eight hours of negotiations in Brussels ended in walkouts after MEPs refused to drop demands for an extra £13.8 billion in European Union spending for this year and 2013.
The failure of the talks casts a fresh doubt on whether a major summit to agree to the EU’s future funding from 2014 to 2020, scheduled for later this month, can go ahead.
There had already been speculation that the summit would be cancelled because David Cameron was refusing to drop his threat of using Britain’s veto to block any future increase above the level of inflation.
Friday night’s deadlock was over demands by the European Commission for a £7.3 billion spending increase by the end of this year to meet a funding shortfall, figures that are disputed by Britain and other governments.
At the same time, the European Parliament wants to reinstate over £6.5 billion in funding that had been cut by governments from next year’s budget to reflect national austerity programmes. (Full article here)
The news out of England have been mostly filled with the LIBOR scandal and what the executives knew or did not know. Meanwhile, as the recession has hit the UK, hunger is a new problem, the country hasn’t seen in a long time. From Bloomberg.
Virtually unheard of during the decade-long economic boom that ended in 2007, food banks are opening at the rate of two a week. Mould said the number of people receiving emergency grocery parcels doubled to almost 130,000 in the 12 months ended in April — about 33 percent of them as a result of benefit reassessments — and the figure may reach 500,000 by 2016. Those referred for food aid, usually by doctors or social workers, are typically not destitute, rather people on low wages or on welfare.
“There is a lot of hidden hunger in Britain,” Mould said. “These are people who are working and trying their best to make ends meet. They are often working a concoction of part-time jobs, with zero-duration contracts. Their benefit support is being reduced and that will get significantly worse.” (Full article here.)
Not even Jose Mourinho, the special one, would have had the nerve to return from a European 26-1 defeat and claim victory. But Cameron’s gall, it seems, knows no limits.
He will return, no doubt, to much flag-waving by his own backbenchers. “We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it” seems to be the genius strategy that his own party will applaud enthusiastically. But how sensible is it?
For months now he has told the nation that a stable, viable Euro is in the UK’s National Interest; that uncertainty in the Eurozone was affecting our employment figures, our growth, our prospects; that the EU is our main trading partner by a clear country mile. Last night he sat down with that trading partner and a few hours later told them to take a running jump. Full must read explanation of Cameron’s move, click here. (Chart courtesy Sturdyblog)
More on Mr Cameron below.
Euro Circus, By Open Europe.
So, by Wednesday, EU leaders will have held nine meetings in five days, which is extraordinary. In addition, they will also have seen through a huge number of rows. So how many rows can we count to, over the last week or so? Here we rank them in order of their feistiness:
1) The ‘you shut up’ row: French President Nicolas Sarkozy finally lost it with David Cameron’s consistent criticism of the eurozone leaders’ handling of the crisis, reportedly telling him he “had lost a good opportunity to shut up”, while also trying to cut Cameron out of important meetings deciding the bank recapitalisation plan (a move that eventually failed). You can understand Sarkozy’s frustration but if he snapped at everyone who criticised the handling of the crisis we’d imagine he wouldn’t have too many people to talk to.
Result: Sarkozy 0 Cameron 1
Full reading here.
Guest Post by Sturdyblog;
“This isn’t how a great nation was built. Britannia didn’t rule the waves with arm-bands on.” David Cameron 5 October 2011
Brilliant stuff, right? Evocative, inspiring, witty. Also, inaccurate.
I apologise for robbing you, dear reader, of this romantic illusion, but Britannia was wearing arm-bands; great big ones. On her left arm she was buoyed by slavery and the oppression of the working classes at home; on her right the exploitation of subjugated colonies abroad.
And, ultimately, this is what Cameron’s blueprint for our future requires a return to. He said recently in Europe “Some of my fellow leaders complain that it’s all about markets and speculators, but none of us are proposing to change the market system.” But that system can only function when sitting on a cushion of human misery. Cameron’s ideas do not look to the future. They sigh with nostalgia towards a Dickensian past.
Don’t believe me? Read on.