Think about the EU for a moment – yes, it’s painful but important. Regard all those lavishly-funded Eurocrats sitting in Brussels and Strasbourg. They are forever working out ways to spend the money sent their way by British taxpayers while they frantically try and justify their own pathetic existence.
Clearly there is just too much available money for the Eurocrats to give much thought to how it’s splashed around. So don’t be surprised to learn that an EU aid fund given eye-watering amounts of British money spent some of the cash to send officials to the Caribbean to discuss renewable energy and on projects promoting Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe.
That’s not all. No, not by a long shot. The money from the European Development Fund (EDF) has also been used on a series of projects in Belgium deemed ‘confidential’ and on which no information has been published and will forever be kept secret.
New analysis by the TaxPayers’ Alliance of official EDF records has exposed the wasteful projects funded by the European Commission. Britain makes donations to the EDF through the Department for International Development, which handed over £308million of taxpayers’ money in 2013 alone. Among the funding commitments are:
€500,000 (£352,589) towards the Culture Fund Zimbabwe Trust, which funds artists in the country, and whose Chief Executive describes Robert Mugabe as a “hero” and defends him from corruption allegations
€245,837 (£173,364) on the Nafasi Arts Space in Dar Es Salaam, which among other initiatives ran a course called “Chap Chap Plastic” inviting local people to join artists and learn “how to make art from plastic bags”
€215,972 (£152,293) on Fit for Life, a programme which includes weekly trapeze, acrobatics, and juggling lessons in Tanzania
€184,975 (£130,435) to support the “media and communications” work of the EU in Jamaica
€180,000 (£126,933) for a “Study on Pacific Coconut Development”
€176,276 (£134,312) to boost wildlife tourism in Swaziland in 2012
€114,288 (£80,597) to facilitate a conference of Culture Ministers from a variety of African countries to discuss economic growth and the African cultural economy – in Brussels
€107,341 (£75,698) for officials to attend a renewable energy conference in Aruba
€26,900 (£18,969) on a study into “the youth perceptions, attitudes and views towards EU development policy”, which revealed young people like “playing and watching sports”, “dating” and “listening to music”
€25,000 (£17,629) on the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Europe’s premier art festival
Separate grants of €198,464, €86,860 and €45,873 (total: £233,537) in 2011 to “confidential” projects in Belgium. No further information is available.
Such four star, mink lined, ocean going waste. This, from the same people who think nothing of dropping a few lazy millions on a new dining service. All of it impossible to justify and a symbol of the extravagance we have come to expect from the unrepresentative minions of the EU. Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, agrees. He said:
“This is a perfect storm of government waste and European inefficiency. Too many of the projects funded through the EDF neither deliver value for money for taxpayers nor deliver sustainable development in the places that need it most. Enough is enough.
“The UK Government must reconsider its support of this programme, as clearly too much money is simply being wasted. Even more worrying is the lack of transparency. It is totally unacceptable for the Commission to simply write off spending as ‘confidential,’ making it almost impossible to monitor whether British taxpayers’ money is being spent properly.”
Nathan Gill MEP, UKIP International Development Spokesman, believes the report illustrates just how out-of-touch the political elite really are with the people they are supposed to represent. He said:
“The British government should be protecting taxpayers and seeking to reduce the burden on them, but instead they consider it a priority to pass a law making it obligatory for future governments to give away nearly £1billion every month of borrowed money.
“Meanwhile, those charged with spending much of this money on our behalf carry on unchecked, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the UK has one of the largest deficits in the Western world. The political establishment has mortgaged this country to the hilt and are busy thinking up ways to max out our nation’s credit cards too; only UKIP would get a grip on this out-of-control spending.
“UKIP would support a policy that ensured the UK could continue to meet its long-term commitment to providing support for essential programmes, including clean water, sanitation and vaccination projects while ensuring the deficit is reduced. Our proposal to reduce the aid budget by approximately 75% is a sustainable and credible way of achieving these two aims.
“In terms of what we give the EU to give away on our behalf: only UKIP would cut that payment to zero. And UKIP wouldn’t allow a single penny of taxpayer’s money to be spent on the sorts of frivolous projects identified by the Taxpayers Alliance and certainly wouldn’t spend over £350,000 on a project glorifying dictator, Robert Mugabe, in Africa.”
David Cameron has pledged to spend 0.7 per cent of gross domestic income on aid. Think about that and the examples given above next time somebody asks you whether or not Britain should remain in the EU.