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Debates
Monday, 11 June 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Public consultations and their availability in all EU languages (debate)
MPphoto
 

  John Stuart Agnew, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Madam President, I would like to thank the 15 MEPs who have bothered to turn up to this debate, which says a little about the state of democracy in the European Union.

Of course, the EU has long since become the great arbiter of law when compared to the Parliaments of Member States. In the United Kingdom, this is most noticeable in the number of acts of Parliament that are now passed. Before we entered the then EEC, typically Parliament would pass 60 to 70 acts. Today, it is typically around 25. By contrast, our national parliaments now regurgitate thousands of pages of regulations forced on them by the European institutions.

This EU Parliament, as evidenced by the inexorable decline in turnout at European elections, continues to move ever further away from the people – real people, real voters. As a matter of principle, UKIP always opposes the profligate waste of this Parliament and of the EU. We know only too well that the EU represents one of the greatest pork barrels ever conceived. Vast sums extracted from the pockets of hard-pressed and hard-working taxpayers all over Europe are poured into this bottomless barrel. We oppose at every turn the larcenous activities of the EU klepto-state. We shall go on doing it, day in and day out.

But, every now and again, we can see the benefit of some expenditure. You are looking at me in great surprise, but the fact is that having access to what is being done in their name is a matter of vital interest to every taxpayer in the European Union. If public consultations are not to be available in all of the official languages of the EU, millions of its citizens will be deprived of access to what is being done in their name, and will be deprived of the ability to take part. Whilst the Commission would doubtless be much happier if large numbers of taxpayers were excluded from much of what is going on, we say that the taxpayer must always be able to access the work of the Council and the Commission. Only thus can taxpayer representatives hold them to account for all the corruption and waste that we know takes place.

Of course, there is one low-cost solution, and actually I have heard it two or three times this evening. Do it all in English! That would promote the learning of English across Europe, much to the benefit of young people, as it is the lingua franca of so much of the world’s activities. But that might upset the French, and we cannot do that, can we? Because this place exists to keep the French happy.

 
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