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 Full text 
Wednesday, 18 September 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Presentation by the Council of its position on the draft general budget - 2020 financial year (debate)

  Robert Rowland (NI). – Madam President, when I look at the EU budget I see political flaws and the usual accounting chicanery. The political flaws are once again seen in the anti-democratic agenda and the creation of nebulous new departments that purport to promote the European way of life. The historic accounting flaws and wasteful spending are legendary, but my personal favourite is the Committee of the Regions, which spent EUR 725 000 on gifts, trophies and medals, presumably to reward mediocrities like the Chair of the Committee on Fisheries (PECH) for destroying the fishing industry.

I’m astonished that the EU arrogantly assumes the UK will still be contributing EUR 18 billion to the EU budget next year, but how on earth are you going to pay for budget increases when we leave? It cannot be out of assumed growth because a recession is now widely expected, and it cannot be from fiscal stimulus because such supply-side pro-growth policies are denied to euro area economies.

The purpose of the Stability and Growth Pact is not to allow economic stimulus. It is there purely for economic patronage so the Commission can grant leniency to countries which they see as EU favourites, which is why France can act with impunity and Italy cannot. Mario Draghi was right in his plea for fiscal stimulus, but it’s all in vain when the euro area remains in the suffocating straitjacket of the Stability and Growth Pact and locked into the euro, which was designed as an instrument of convergence but, as we saw in the last financial crisis, ruined the lives of Greeks, Italians and Spaniards at the altar of European integration.

(Applause from certain quarters)

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