July 10, 2006

Gallileo, or the EU finds a high tech way of screwing the Europeans

The EU has long wanted to reduce its reliance for funding on it's member states, there won't always be the likes of Blair around to give away money to it for no return. It already has several funding streams such as:
A proportion of VAT returns. Hence why this fraud magnet of a tax can never be removed while we are in the EU or VAT levels on anything that attracts it allowed to go below 5%.
A proportion of the money raised by the tarrifs that it controls as a Customs Union. Hence why it will never stop being protectionist and allow free trading with the rest of the world. This block on free trade by rich countries being one of the main reasons why poor countries are poor (and we aren't richer than we could be).

Somebody somewhere in the EU eurocracy had a clever idea for a new money spinner. The EU would create a rival to GPS, which would allow the politicians to show their anti-American credentials, funnel money from all the other EU countries into France for launching the satelites, and allow the EU to get some cash by charging the people manufacturing receivers for access to the service. Manufacturing the receivers would also provide a useful boast to European hi-tech industry. The reason why anybody would choose to use this paid for system when the US signal was free being neatly solved by the EU using it's regulatory power to force various industries to have to use Gallileo even if the US system was cheaper and better.

Unfortuantly things are beginning to unravel. Firstly in desperate need of cash the EU has sold a 20% stake in Gallileo to China. That is a country that imprisons members of a non-violent religous minority or practicing their brand of sillyness, executes them, and then sells the organs. I guess the EU excuses this by thinking "at least they aren't americans".

This meant that chinese manufacturers will be mass producing the receivers cheaply and without paying any dues to the EU. Now a proffessor at Cornell in the USA being annoyed at the EU's refusal to allow access to the codes used for encrypting Gallileo, which the EU had promised to make available, cracked them. His break found it's way onto the internet and then into the receivers manufactured by a Canadian company since:
the Europeans cannot copyright basic data about the physical world, even if the data are coming from a satellite that they built.
So it appears that everywhere other than in EU countries manufacturers will be able to create receivers for the Gallileo system without paying the EU anything. The citizens of the EU who this puts at a competitive disadvantage being the people that are paying most of the money that will put Gallileo in the sky in the first place, and being the people that will be forced by various EU regulations to buy the things. So the EU is effectively forcing it's citizens to subsidise the hi tech manufaturing of the whole world, apart from inside the EU itself!

Once again it is better to be outside the EU than in it. Let's leave.


Post a Comment

<< Home