Tuesday, October 25, 2005

European "Transparency" Proposals Shelved

Siim Kallas' plans for greater transparency concerning European Union farm subsidies and lobbying "gifts", which were due to have been adopted by the EU Commission yesterday, were taken off the agenda at the last minute.

A spokeswoman for Jose Manuel Barroso, the Commission President, said this was due to practical considerations about how to implement the proposal, rather than to substantive objections to its spirit.

A move to transparency in the matter of subsidies has already been started in Denmark and Holland. In Denmark, where getting the information from the government proved an Herculean task, the Danes learned that the great majority of EU subsidies went to the likes of an ex-minister for food and agriculture, the current farm Commissioner, the royal family and big corporations like Danisco.

Unsurprisingly, such revelations are terrible PR for the EU's discredited CAP policy, and for its lacklustre reputation for combatting fraud. To stymie Kallas' modest proposal may keep the lid on the whole sorry business a bit longer, but sooner or later the EU's supine toleration of corruption is going to backfire on all those who benefit from it.


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