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“Italians have to take care of the poor regions of Italy. That means more work; less corruption; seriousness. We will help them as we always did. But don’t play this game of loading with responsibility the EU. A country is a country, a nation is a nation. Countries first, Europe second.”
Because it wants to “match ambitions with resources” the EC says it will fund “new and pressing priorities”. Amongst those are research and innovation, young people (?), the digital economy (?), the pet peeve sustainability, border management, and security and defense. The EC believes this will “contribute to prosperity, sustainability and security in the future.”
“If there’s not the OK of Berlin, Paris or Brussels, a government cannot be formed in Italy. It’s madness, and I ask the Italian people to stay close to us because I want to bring democracy back to this country.”
Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf reports that the annual €13 billion shortfall is going to be compensated by raising the seven-year budget plan from €1000 billion to €1300 billion, amounting to a raise of €300 billion, from 1% of the EU’s GDP to 1.14%. Seven years without the Red Coats amounts to a budget shortfall of €91 billion. So one wonders how they’ll spend the surplus €209 billion this new seven-year budget plan entails. According to EU sources, €30 billion will be spent on “guarding the EU’s outer borders”. How the remaining €121 billion will be spent, is not yet clear.
Maybe if the EU had offered any more information on how the “#EUbudget” made sure everyone in the EU had access to clean water, someone could say anything more substantial about the claim. But Monday-intern didn’t. Oh, well. Maybe they think that Monty Python sketch is some sort of bingo card and the EU has to claim everything on it at least once? The aqueduct? Check. Brought peace? Of course they did!
Spectacular news from the European Commission (EC): buses can now be powered by water! Really? Yes! Well, no, of course not. Unless you work the EC twitter account. The tweet has a clip attached which explains that the bus is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen is not water, but hey.
On 23 April, the European Parliament think tank published an information sheet on Online disinformation and the EU’s response. And, as one has come to expect whenever the EU tries to be an authority on fake news and disinformation, it’s pretty bad. We are presented with a document that either states the obvious, states things like they are obvious, when it should argue them, or adds ‘supporting links’ to the text that do not actually support the narrative.
“Without a strong Europe, the populists win – and then there will be war. In Germany, it is up to the SPD [Social Democrats] to prevent that. We have, in the coalition agreement, decided on a [new] start for Europe, that [start] must come now. To that start, I want to contribute, in the future as well.”
Verhofstadt calls it “a weakness” that sovereign member states of the European Union can pursue their own foreign policy, separate from the EU. For whom? Not for the member states, so surely it is a weakness for the EU. Verhofstadt would rather have it be the EU that “shoots missiles” and is more than willing to take away member states’ sovereignty in order to be the one that does the shooting. One cannot accuse Verhofstadt of not being open about this.
The impression that is strongest, after reading the article, is that of one or two anonymous interns have been hit hard by things that happened to them. What happened to them, doesn’t become completely clear. What does become clear, is that Politico can’t really prove its – repeated – accusations of a ‘culture of sexual harassment’. It proves inappropriate behaviour took place, just as well as it proves that this behaviour wasn’t accepted.
So we have a supra-national organisation broadly claiming the accomplishments of its member states as its own. Using, it might be added, not its effectiveness, but spending as ‘claim to fame’, which is the worst possible measurement. Then we are confronted by a Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development who seems unsure about the meaning of a decrease in ODA. Who, in reaction to this, blindly insists “we need to do more”.