There is no doubt that the EU Budget debate will warm up considerably this week. Unfortunately, as Le Monde suggests it is a case of “Le budget europ?en entre rabais britannique et subventions agricoles” (The EU budget: between the British rebate and the agricultural subsidies). Now it does occur to me that there is another dimension here:
“Generations of French children have grown up on the “Asterix” comic books and the myth of the leisurely British who were conquered by Rome because among their shortcomings was a horror of working on weekends. Today, instead of poking fun at their island neighbor, some in France are wondering whether they can learn from it.”
Now *a* generation of French children grew up on this because there was a time when it bore some relation to reality: let’s say in the 60’s and 70’s. But things have changed. Today, according to French Socialist politician Henri Emmanuelli:
“You can’t speak about Great Britain without specifying that to earn a living, people there have to have two or three jobs….Even better than that would be slavery with a bowl of rice as recompense. That way there would be no unemployment at all.”
There is just one snag attached to all this fun-poking at the expense of the Brits, and it is called the rebate. If things in the UK are going so badly, then how come they are considered to be so rich they can afford to pay proportionally more? There appears to be an inconsistency here. Isn’t someone about to find themselves hoisted on their own petard?