November 29, 2012
I look at this whole debate on the European Budget and I try to grasp the benefits on grass root level for the money brought into debate – € 1000 billion. The sum is impressive to say the least. For an estimated population of 503 492 041 citizens  distribution per capita of that budget is roughly € 1987. There is an estimate of 80 million people living under the poverty line in the EU . So the whole debate on where to cut 100 billion from starts to sound a little childish. And utterly pointless.
And yet there was talk of downsizing the Erasmus Program. In 2008 EUR-31 total expenses with the Erasmus program amounted to € 414.578.000, and in 2007 it was 369.171.371 . That is less than € 1 per capita. Extrapolating these figures, for the € 985 billion  budget for the 2007-2013 period, the total cost would be roughly somewhere around € 3.8 billion [rough calculation based on the 12% growth for 2007-2008, extrapolated for 2008-2013]. That amounts for 0.385 % of the budget. And this is where the cut is needed. Even if it went up to 1 % and it would still be stupid to consider a cut.
On the other hand, operating in Brussels and Strasbourg costs the European Parliament some € 250 million a year . So for 2007-2013 it should amount to € 1.5 billion. And I don’t mean to be rude, or insensible, but I have the feeling that the whole Strasbourg offices are strictly to keep the French happy. There shouldn’t be a tax of € 1.5 billion to keep any country happy. Ever. Not in a million years.
It’s very simple – we just have to admit that Brussels has come to be what other countries call a federal district. Sure, you can be upset, you can cry about it, but let’s just move along. There is no special prize for having the EP in your country.
I have lots of other things to point out, and maybe I’ll dedicate a longer post to this issue. But for now I am just offering some rough data because I cannot believe we are debating a € 100 billion as if it were a matter of life and death. This budget should be about the people of Europe, and their well-being, not about getting reelected back home for “doing the right thing” on the EU budget.