October 11, 2006

The cost of the EU

A while ago I posted about the costs of being in the EU. This included a news letter from 2004 in which it was calculated that the opportunity costs of being in the EU (such as having to turn down a free trade agreement that the US offered in 2003). The result was £100 billion per year. However thanks to the Serf I have found that the EU costs Europe £405 billion per year due to complying with the EU's regulations. This is according to the EU's own competition commissioner, who had wanted to reduce the costs of EU regulation when he was appointed. Unfortuantly for him that was not part of the culture of the EU:
European Commission officials had not adapted to "a new political culture" and still believed their job was to unite Europe through more regulations, Mr Verheugen told the Financial Times.

"There is a view that the more regulations you have, the more rules you have, the more Europe you have," he said. "I don't share that view."
Which is at least good to see them admitting that the purpose of the EU is to form a new state, something that you will not see any British politician admitting. So what do we get for the £4 billion net direct contribution, £100 billion in opportunity costs, and £405 billion in the costs of regulation? Well more expensive goods, more expensive food, a tax that is so complex with so much fraud that it distorts trade figures, the distruction of the British fishing fleet (for no enviromental benefit), the distruction of the fisheries of two continents, and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from contributing to the impoverishment of some of the already poorest people on the planet.


Tim Worstall gives a little perspective on just how big the cost of the EU bureaucracy is:
Very roughly, that's 30% of the entire production of the 60 million people in the UK spread out across the population of the EU. It's thus something like the whole output of an entire 20 million of the world's most productive citizens* pissed away so that bureacrats can play with their paper clips.


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