This story involves
€10.5 billion in an ‘off-budget’ EU fund
A former Communist EU Commissioner with a penchant for self-promotion
And where the EU breaks its own rules with impunity
A salutary tale for Remainers, on the final day of 2018
RULES AIN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE
A fundamental credo of the EU is that it is a ‘rules-based organization’. It is not.
Throughout the Brexit negotiations, the argument has been advanced that the EU cannot break its rules, for example on negotiating a trade agreement with the UK before it has left. Putting aside the sheer idiocy of any such rule, the EU itself has no compunction in circumventing any of its other ‘rules’, at any time, for any reason.
THE €10.5 BILLION MILITARY SLUSH FUND
Named — as only the EU can — the “European Peace Facility” (EPF), this €10.5 billion war chest is officially described as “off-budget”, yet all member states will be obliged to contribute to it according to the usual GDP formula.
The EPF is part of the EU Commission’s new budget proposals for the next 7-year financial period which starts at the end of 2019. Whilst other parts of the Commission’s proposals have been scaled back after deliberations at the EU Council, this ‘Peace Facility’ has not.
WHAT’S THE MONEY FOR?
According to the EU’s “European External Action Service”, the fund :
“will enable the financing of operational actions under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) that have military or defense implications and thus allow more flexibility and effectiveness of our operations abroad.”
This is a classic case of EU mission creep. The EU Commission says that it will enable it to
“Carry out broader actions: Currently the EU has a limited capacity to engage in military or defense actions, such as capacity building, provision of training, equipment or infrastructure. The EPF will assist in building the capacities of partner countries’ armed forces to preserve peace, prevent conflict and address security challenges.”
It then even goes on to say that some of the money will also be used to fund military ‘equipment’ of foreign defense forces. Older readers will remember how for many years proxy wars were fought in places such as Vietnam, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Funding for arms was usually where these campaigns started too.
WHY THIS DOESN’T APPEAR IN THE EU BUDGET
Here is where it gets really interesting. The EU is currently limited in what it can do under its own Treaties. If the EU were truly a ‘rules-based’ organization, that would be that.
Getting around the rules has never been a problem for the EU Commission, however. In this case, the answer was simple. Set up an “off-budget” fund, put it in the hands of a power-hungry Commission Vice-President, and bingo, problem solved.
The new fund
“will only cover expenditure that cannot be financed under the Union’s budget because of its operational military or defense implications, as set out in the EU Treaty (Art. 41.2 TEU).”
In other words:
‘We’re not allowed to do this under the Treaty so we’ll do it outside the Treaty.’
WHO HOLDS THE PURSE STRINGS?
The most publicity-hungry Commissioner in Brussels after Jean-Claude Juncker is a woman by the name of Federica Mogherini. Bet you have never heard of her have you, folks? This former Communist Italian politician rejoices in the title of “High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission”.
In practice she’s the EU’s Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary, all rolled into one. This amount of power wielded by one person would not be out of place in a banana republic. Not only that but she was selected, not elected. Jean-Claude Juncker (also unelected by any populace) chose her.
You didn’t vote her in, and you can’t vote her out.
Ms. Mogherini runs the “European External Action Service” (EEAS) and any casual glance at that part of the EU’s website would leave readers in no doubt about that. Photos of her are hardly in short supply on there.
This is the EU, red in tooth and claw. Undemocratic, power-seeking, usurping the traditional roles of national governments, breaking its own rules, and using what is in effect ‘slush funds’ to cover some of its activities.
It’s not the cuddly teddy bear in the imaginations of uninformed MPs and deluded Europhile pundits.
The EU is NOT what these idiots want the EU to be.
The EU is what it is. And what it is, ain’t pretty.