Coffee House

‘We are the voice of the people': the MEPs planning to block the EU Budget cut

13 February 2013

The EU budget ‘victory’ cheers go on in the Commons, but the facts seem to have been lost in the Prime Minister’s ‘triumph’. What the cheering Tories can’t quite grasp is that all that came out of the European Council last week was an agreed position to make cuts in the EU’s long term budget. That’s all, an ‘agreed position’. It was not a deal. Under the Lisbon Treaty, there is no deal until the European Parliament agrees to one: and the Parliament is in no mood to agree any cuts in EU spending.

And if the Council and the Parliament cannot reach an agreement? The Parliament would be delighted. EU spending would stay at the 2013 ceiling of well over a trillion euros, tens of billions above last week’s agreed position of €960 billion.

So to anyone watching from Brussels, Cameron’s victory celebrations look very odd. Either the PM doesn’t know the procedures for how the budget is agreed – is it possible he still imagines the Council has the same powers as in Margaret Thatcher’s time? – or he is pretending he’s had a great triumph as a ‘proof’ that he can renegotiate successfully with an unwilling EU.


It is unlikely Martin Schulz, the German socialist who is president of the European Parliament, cares what the answer is to that one. He is busy getting on with blocking the cuts, and – added personal bonus – humiliating a British Conservative. All that is needed in the parliament to over-turn the agreed position is an absolute majority vote against it. The vote is planned for March, Already the four main groups in the Parliament, representing 80 percent of the votes, have come out to back Schulz. To make sure the vote is certain, the groups will put into play Rule 169 of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, allowing for a secret ballot: ‘When a request for a secret ballot is submitted by at least one fifth of the component Members of Parliament before voting begins, Parliament must hold such a vote.’ So it’s a dead cert if Schulz wants it, and he does.

But why in secret? To stop national parliaments threatening their MEPs over how they vote. The word at the Parliament is that the secret ballot is meant in particular to protect Polish MEPs, some of whom want a bigger EU budget but fear reprisals by Donal Tusk’s Civic Platform party. Schulz’s excuse for this kind of behaviour is: ‘We are the voice of the people.’

Among the other leaders in the Parliament lining up with Schulz are Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-chairman of the Greens but more famous as Dany the Red of the Paris student riots of 1968. Also Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister, now leader of the liberal group in the Parliament and founder member of the Spinelli group. The group is named after Altieri Spinelli (1907-1986) an Italian Leninist turned Stalinist whose goal in Europe was ‘the definitive abolition of the division of Europe into national sovereign states’.   The group today denounces countries which ‘cling to national sovereignties’.

As I say, this lot and their allies control 80 percent of the vote in the Parliament. Backing them are the Commission elite, who have already sent out a warning to Cameron that ‘the summit was only the first chapter of the story’. Not quite VE day, then.

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  • terence patrick hewett

    That little runt Schultz would benefit from a sound horsewhipping.

  • vvputout

    If the EU left throw out the cuts, Cameron should hammer home the message that the reason the UK’s taxpayers will have to pay more to subsidise Brussels is that Milliband’s EU allies have sabotaged a reasonable deal.

    Thereafter the UK should engage in a process of deliberate obstruction of Brussels business.

    • fred smith

      It assumes that Cameron is looking for any more in this than appearances to calm Conservative eurosceptics.

      I can’t see the British government seriously acting up over this as almost all of the political establishment is steadfastly in favour of staying in the EU.

    • David Lindsay

      the EU left?

      You can’t get 80 per cent of the votes in the European Parliament on the Left alone. Nothing like it, in fact.

      And, as in Britain but the media pretend not to know (or in some cases genuinely don’t, and therefore shouldn’t be in their jobs), no one is more critical of the EU, including within the European Parliament, than the really Left Left.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well yes, the psychotics and bong hitters who are still gathering on May Day chanting for Stalin are subject to do and say just about anything, little of it sane.

        But in the main, you leftist Millipedal types are four square in favor of the EU, just like your soulmate Cameroon.

        • David Lindsay

          Illiterate. But we knew that, anyway.

  • David B

    Secret vote will also protect Labour MEP’s!

    • David Lindsay

      Mostly from the Labour Party. Blair cleared out any number of them in order to make way for his preferred candidates, and there are now moves afoot to clear those out in what is seen as due season.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Well, Dave knew this would all blow over, and the spending increases would go through. He was just looking for a public relations bonanza, and he got it, particularly from the Speccie teenagers.

    The EUcrats knew all that, too. All along they knew it. But they also knew they’d be getting their cash. Because they know that the banksters in Londonistan can’t survive unless the EU Central Bank continues to bailout Club Med. If Club Med defaults, then the banksters default. The EU is in full control.

    So the EU has a veto over everything LibLabCon does, which they are duly exercising as regards EU spending. So best just pay the danegeld, as LibLabCon and their friends prefer.

    • Fergus Pickering

      ome on. Tell us what this post means. I can’t make it out at all. Try again.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well, you are pretty stupid, don’t forget.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I say. How witty. But spell it out, here’s a good fellow.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, best not to waste time on the stupid.

  • 2trueblue

    Well at least we have some idea what these people are really like. Or more clearly the public have.

  • DWWolds

    Schultz & co need to be careful what they wish for. A “no” vote will simply strengthen the anti EU feeling in the UK – and probably in other countries too.

    And if the Parliament does vote against the budget deal in a secret ballot perhaps we should simply refuse to pay anything other than our share of the deal agreed by the Council – and the net portion of it too.

  • Hamburger

    If the MEPs vote against the budget, there is no budget. THis means that the budget limits will remain at the presant level plus inflation. However they will need to be reviewed every year. Long term budgets will not be able to be agreed and the actual spending will decline. Mr Schulz shoots himself in his foot. I am not sure that his power grab will help.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘We are the voice of the people’

    The last refuge of the scoundrel.

  • UlyssesReturns

    I am quite certain that Cameron is counting on the European parliament overturning the Council’s decision. How do you think this will play in Germany, the Netherlands and the Nordic states? Do you think the electorates and their governments will just roll over and accept that southern states and various unreformed socialists feeding at the EU teat can decide how much they should receive from the northern taxpayers? This is the showdown that is needed to push the reform agenda. As Clint Eastwood might have said ‘ bring it on you lefty punks’.

    • Colonel Mustard

      And what lefty punks they are. The true face of the socialist-fascist EUSSR emerges. When this goes pear shaped it won’t be reds and lefties on the streets. They are going to get a well-deserved taste of their own rotten medicine.

      • David Lindsay

        it won’t be reds and lefties on the streets

        It already is. It always is. But no one in the official British media pays the slightest attention.

        On the perfectly ridiculous, purely British theories that the Left is pro-EU and that the Right, including the British Right, somehow isn’t, see this, published today by a sitting MP –

        • Noa

          Thanks for that, Lindsay. A grain or two of truth can be winnowed from the chaff of Marxist dialectic madness.

          • David Lindsay

            Kelvin Hopkins isn’t a Marxist! Any more than someone like Peter Shore was a Marxist. All manner of people write for the Morning Star these days. A fact which says an awful lot about many, many things.

            They were right when you were (and, not least, She was) wrong. And they are still fully right, whereas you want to stay in the Single Market, have “free trade” between the EU and the US, and all the rest of it.

  • Archimedes

    It’s actually truly flabbergasting that they think that this is going to serve their aims in any long-term sense. I suppose this is the quality of the politicians in the EU parliament.

  • perdix

    “We are the voice of the people”. But we will speak in secret.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The are the ‘voice of the people’ in the same way that telemachus is a ‘we’ and knows what the electorate want. They usurp the voice of the people and then repress them.

      • Andy

        They are Fascists. But the whole EU is a Fascist construct.

    • Russell

      Echoes of Adolfs party….Typical socialists.

    • Olaf

      “We are the voice of the people! Mainly the people round this table.” Nicolae Ceausescu thought he was well liked too.

  • Andy

    Throwing out the Budget ‘Deal’ is a win win for Cameron and for EuroSceptics. It will say to the peoples of Europe ‘your Government has to cut, cut and cut, but the EU can only spend, spend, spend’.

    • David Lindsay

      “Cameron and for EuroSceptics”?

  • Archimedes

    “Not quite VE day, then.”

    Well, it kind of is. It’s what you call a win-win situation for the UK.

  • Guest

    Sadly, or perhaps thankfully, the fanaticism of the Commission, Schulz, Verhofstadt and Cohn-Bendit in pursuing this self-fulfilling project will be their undoing. If a block does come to fruition, and I imagine it will considering the demonstrable extremism of the aforementioned in the EU Parliament, it will achieve nothing but stoke the embers of the Eurosceptic camp.

  • Smithersjones2013

    And how does that harm the views of British Eurosceptics (few of whom acclaimed Cameron’s ‘Austerity in our times’ Posture)?

    It’s Munich 1938 all over again (but dissimilar consequences of course). Time the Conservative party started planning Cameron’s enforced end game.

    • David Lindsay

      But it won’t. It doesn’t have anyone else.

      Honestly, an overall cut with an increase in the British contribution: that is a “victory”, is it? The mind boggles as to what a defeat would look like.

      • DWWolds

        Once again let’s spell it out in simple terms: the increase in the UK’s contribution is the fault of Blair. He gave up part of the rebate during the 2005 budget negotiations and was supposed to get reform of the CAP in return. That reform never happened.

        • Andy

          So as the Continentals have no kept their side of the bargain we should reinstate the rebate to its previous level – just withhold the money.

          • David Lindsay

            Oh, but he can’t do that. He can’t do anything. It was all decided by Tony Blair some time in the Trochaic Period, and it can never be altered. Why, then, does Cameron have the gall to draw a salary? You might very well ask.

        • David Lindsay

          If there even the slightest truth in this, then there would be no point having David Cameron at all.

          Of course, there is no point at all in having David Cameron. But not for that reason.

          Blair? Is he even still alive?

          • Fergus Pickering

            He is indeed, feller. He’s the only person alive who ever won an election for the Labour Party. Do you remember that? Or was it too long ago?

            • David Lindsay

              He is the Labour Heath: no Tory still admits that Heath ever was a Tory, and the point is rapidly approaching at which no Labour people will admit that Blair ever was Labour. Yet Heath sat within the mainstream of his party at the time (just as Cameron does, in fact). Blair never did.

              • Fergus Pickering

                So Labour shouldn’t have won those three elections. Labour shouldn’t ever have been in power.

  • Richard Laming

    here are the federalists, opposing the idea of a secret vote in the EP

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