Not interfering in other countries
We will not comment here on the governance of Poland, nor on the new measures that the democratically-elected government in Warsaw is proposing to enact. These are matters for the Polish people.
The reason we think this story is interesting is that the EU Commission’s actions yesterday have begun a serious stage in the deterioration in the imaginary fabric of EU ‘unity’.
For many British people, the smug and vacuous smiles of Eurocrats over the last year have been somewhat irritating, as they have talked of how united the EU27 are. Frequently Brexit has been cited by Eurocrats like Juncker, Tusk, and Barnier as the cause of this newly rediscovered ‘unity’ and ‘solidarity’.
On Thursday we provided a list of just some of the fundamental splits in the EU which have been making the continental news in the last week. One of these was Poland and the possibility of legal action, which has now jumped forward in the list. With the EU Commission’s actions yesterday, on a Saturday afternoon at the end of July, that item has now gone up the agenda.
The impact on Brexit? Follow the money
There’s an old adage which exists in policing, journalism and politics: ‘follow the money’.
Poland is by far the largest recipient of EU funds, having pocketed over €9 billion Euros in 2015, according to the EU’s own figures. If the EU’s current actions take their course – and they show no signs of not doing so – then Poland’s supply of money from the EU could be cut. This could have an interesting impact on Brexit.
Over the past couple of years Facts4EU.Org has uncovered EU funds which are ‘off-the-books’ and to which the UK is a major donor. These are additional to the ‘conventional’ annual payments which the UK makes to the EU’s budget each year and don’t appear in any totals from the ONS, the OBR, the House of Commons Library, or even ‘BBC Fact Check’ – that walking misnomer of a department.
Even the conventional net budget contributions have always been understated by Remainers, but when you start adding in the ‘off-the-books’ funds too, the contribution of the UK to total EU funding each year is even greater. When the UK stops paying, the EU – and its apologists in the British Remainer community – will want to continue the pretence that the UK had not actually been paying much to the EU each year.
However the simple fact is that the UK has been a major bankroller of the EU Project for 43 years.
When the UK leaves, the EU must demand higher contributions of EU member state taxpayers, or cut its spending. Against this background, taking legal action against Poland which will lead to payments being cut is an interesting option for the EU. Its overall spending is effectively reduced, and it is able to weather the post-Brexit storm more easily. We can just hear Juncker now, breezily saying: “You see, ze British have left and we get stronger. Ze British weren’t paying much at all. Particularly when you look at all ze benefits zay were getting.”
Poland now has a month to decide how it wishes to respond to the EU’s legal action letter. We seriously doubt that it will suddenly say “Gosh, EU Commission, you were right. We’ll annul our laws and make sure that we run any new ones past you in the future.”
Looking at the growing problems like this which the EU is facing, the fractures and acrimony really do seem to keep mounting on many levels. Once again we are forced to ask all ill-informed and naïve Europhiles:
Where’s the love?