I know, I know, another of my obscure headings but Herr Günther Oettinger is the Budget Director for the EU and 'Anstrengung' is the German for 'effort', so, 'E for effort', geddit? (Oh God, is there anything unfunnier than a 'joke' that has to be explained?) Anyway, moving on, Herr Oettinger's new Commission budget, written in the knowledge that the second largest contributor to the racket Community is on the way out, is actually bigger, not smaller than the last budget - yeeeeeees, quite!
Happily, he seems to have upset just about everyone with the possible exception of 'Junk the Drunk'. The EU is facing a 94 billion euro hole when the suckers the Brits leave and so some cuts to expenditure were to be expected. However, Oettinger seems to lack finesse because one of the cuts he has chosen is - mon Dieu! - the Common Agriculture Fund or, as it is better known, the French agriculture subsidy! Cue: the trundling sound of approaching guillotines! In addition, he has proposed a cut of 7% in the Cohesion Fund which, in plain language, is a bribe paid by the richer members to the poorer members! In addition, as I mentioned a few days ago, there are moves afoot to link the payment of these bribes to the, er, 'good behaviour' of the countries concerned in 'obeying ze orders'!
So much for the so-called 'cuts'. The rest of the budget can be summarised as 'SPEND, SPEND, SPEND' but, natürlich, all this increased spending will be strictly under the control of the Central Committee the EU Commission. Already the complaints are coming in from Austria, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Sweden and - quelle horreure! - France. The 'ost bloc', of course, is already bridling at the threat that their future 'bribes' will be dependent on good behaviour. Somehow, I do not see the likes of Viktor Orbán of Hungary taking that too kindly!
So, yet again, the Berlin-Brussels fanatics drive the European autobus straight towards the cliff edge. Can't wait!