Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Slowly But Surely

Yesterday the new EU President met with Gordon Brown to discuss the economy, climate change and the crisis in Haiti. It gave van Rompuy the chance to reiterate his idea of direct taxation by the EU in the form of a bonus tax, following on from Luc Frieden, Luxembourg's finance minister, at the weekend who also mooted a similar idea, and using Haiti as an opportunity to suggest an EU 'humanitarian rapid reaction force'.

Aside from the slightly amusing title (I presume by rapid reaction they mean that they will decide to do nothing even quicker), it's another sign that van Romuy's desire for more EU integration is coming along rather nicely. Fraser Nelson at the Spectator sums up the meaning of Rompuy's suggestion well:
This rung a bell with me. When I did my tour of duty in the Scottish Parliament, this was a goal of the SNP. They want to creep on to the world stage, without asking permission. One step is to send “observers” to various committees. But aid is the softest target. The SNP have long wanted to use this as a way to project Scotland as an international actor (just as Rompuy wants the EU to be recognised as having a force in its own right). So when an earthquake strikes, Scottish aid with Scottish money leaves a Scottish airport on behalf of the Scottish people. Politically, it’s a great tactic – because it seems heartless to object to such a mission. It should, of course, be quashed as needless duplication. The SNP want to duplicate what DFID does – this sneaking one step closer to nationhood.

Rompuy has cottoned on to the same scam, as he made clear in his press conference with Brown today (transcript here). It’s all part of the slowly-slowly method of preventing voters with a fait accompli: to create a fake Scottish or EU government and the following it up with tax-raising powers. Aid, defence and foreign policy should not be an EU competence: different countries have different priorities. But aid is the softest target for the EU – and Rompuy clearly has his eye on it.

Fraser's absolutely spot on.

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