Meanwhile in Europe

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It’s quite natural that all attention is focused on the American elections. In Europe, the focus seems to be two-fold; continuous focus on politics we can’t afford and reluctant, though desperate in rhetorics, on what is a real crisis.

Italy and Spain seem to have at least survived the first shock of the Euro crisis, while Greece is still  hanging on a limb with riots in the streets. Eurocrats look concerned while turning a blind eye, focusing instead on protecting their own interests in the ongoing – long-term – budget process.

Naturally, the budget wont hold in the long run, but the symbolic value in handing out privileges to vested interests is huge. Instead of looking at the whole picture, the Eurocrats just let the machinery go on.

A year ago, I played around with the budget myself, only the one for the Parliament. Without even touching any of the trickier, long-term obligations, like salaries or pension schemes, I had no problem to find a 20% cut, simply by taking away, or reducing, totally unnecessary things, with no relevance to the Great Peace Project.

With the entire budget, it should be even easier. The costliest post is the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, which is devastating to both the economy and the environment, together with the fisheries policy being nothing but an incomprehensible web of subsidies and quotas, costing a fortune in order to deliberately destroy valuable food and land.

No such luck.

But having to tackle the challenges at this crucial time, you would have thought that other luxuries were put on hold. Impossible. Every Eurocrat has his own agenda and the time-table is set. Alongside with tackling the worst crisis since the Union was founded, new energy standards are being developed, to interfere with the market driven strive for efficiency. Long term goals for CO2 reductions are on the table and wont it be fun to go to another UNFCCC conference and shuffle some money around in the sun.

 

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.