There's been something of a triumph of spin on the EU's MFF share-out. Oh I don't mean the headlines, which we summarised last week, but the rationale. Spain and Italy get the biggest share for the next seven years because they have been hardest hit by Covid, the spin went. And hardly anyone said "Hold on - Covid hasn't gone. What if Poland goes down next year, or the Netherlands?"
Of course, as Rutte and Kurz know full well, Covid has been the cover for propping up the generous but unaffordable pension commitments in Spain and Italy. I told my old mate in the pub last night not to worry - Germany was paying for the mad Med pensions. He was just paying for Slovenia and Croatia. "What?
Austria pays €14bn into the MFF; Slovenia gets €1.2bn and Croatia €12.1bn. That's €1,580 from the purses of every Austrian and €2,969 into the wallets of every Croatian. "Croatia? Why do they need money? Have you seen the price of property there now? Their hotels cost the same as ours and are more fully booked, their trains are new, new stations, bridges - we paid for all that already".
I have my own suspicions - and they're around Tito's old nuclear power plant at Krško (say Crooshgo), shared between Croatia and Slovenia, due for decommissioning from 2023 but now extended for another twenty years. The EU insists it's safe, but our nuclear leak (and other civil emergencies) warning sirens are still tested every Saturday at 12 noon, and most folk have a 7-day course of Iodine pills in the first aid box. More specifically, Croatia has a contractual obligation to take 50% of the nuclear waste by 2025, hasn't got anywhere to put it and Slovenia has run out of storage. That's my guess, anyhow.
That's the sort of thing that Covid is helping to hide. Don't tell the tourists headed for the Adriatic beaches that there's a nuclear waste dump behind the hotel, don't tell the punters hard at work in Munich that their taxes are being drunk by Luigi and Alphonse sitting in the sun outside their tavernas. Hey ho.
Malta seems to have got it right, from your graphic. Legacy of Dom Mintoff's arbitrage between Commies and the West?
It's typical EU ever-greater-union by stealth. The Germans pay more but keep their customers solvent and Spain and Italy are happy to receive more without thought for the conditions attached to the loans and grants.
How much more difficult would Brexit have been if we had been a net recipient of EU money?
You make "nuclear waste" sound like something bad. What you are talking about is part-used fuel, which can be used in newer designs of power stations.
It is a valuable asset. Of course it needs to be stored safely until it is either used or sold to another country with more advanced technology.
Sorry Don you're right - too many episodes of the Simpsons, I fear ..
What a shame the UK can no longer help with supporting the "level playing field" created by the Euro!
Must be good to live in a country which takes public health risks seriously, Raedwald.
You made the right choice, to ditch the UK for the European Union while you could, it seems.
Three errors in two lines, glad to see you're making an effort!
We love Europe. We loathe the EU. And if living most of the year offshore means paying taxes in two European countries, everyone wins!
The spending plans were always a sore point, now it just has another dimension. The Spanish were realy cheesed off in the mid 00s when they had to 'start paying'. All their lovely roads and progress etc built from German, British Dutch and Swedish taxes...
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