16 October 2006

Ignorance all round

At a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference the head of the EU Commission's representation in the UK, Finnish national Reijo Kemppinen, argued that the general rise in 'euroscepticism' polled across the EU recently is "fuelled by ignorance, and a lack of knowledge." He said, "People don't know much about the EU and the benefits it can bring," arguing that the Commission has a job to do in explaining the EU and its policies to people. When questioned about his remarks by members of the audience, Kemppinen later denied having used the word "ignorance". He then went on to concede that he didn't know as much of the detail of many EU policies as some eurosceptics. Open Europe Bulletin, 13 October
Commissioner Kemppinen is probably correct, but there's plenty of ignorance too about the costs the EU imposes on its citizens. Not just the regulatory costs, which the EU's own 'Enterprise Commissioner' reports as being around 600 billion Euros every year (about 5.5% of total EU GDP!); but the costs of subsidies, and protectionism, the latter of which does not appear on the EU budget. It's ignorance about these costs that, in my view, that is the more scandalous.

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