In the week ended 7th February, 2013, the Sur in English ran an article in which many Britons in Spain appear to express the belief that Cameron will maintain the UK’s membership of the European Union.
How surprising to see so many Britons on the Coast believing that Cameron will, somehow, be able to persuade the British public that membership of the European Union is desireable. I have to wonder where they are getting their information.
There is no doubt in the minds of most people living in the UK that the EU is the root source of most of their ills. The biggest problem is the massive net contribution by the UK to EU funds. It seems to most of them that this money is being poured into a bottomless pit when it should be used to help the people who created it.
It is very difficult to explain exactly what Britain’s annual net contribution of more than €5,300,000,000 a year is justified by – certainly there seems to be no immediate benefit. Britain has major problems with housing, crime, hospitals and illegal immigration not to mention a growing and aged population and this money ould make a huge impact on those problems.
For most Britons, this EU tax produces nothing of value to the UK and is encouraging eastern European countries to throw their hats into the ring in the hopes of obtaining some of the benefits of subsidised membership.
Spain has been enjoying more than €3,900,000,000 in funds from the EU but we all know that this money is not being used for the benefit of Spain in general because there are too many pockets to be lined before the funds arrive at their alleged destination. A weak government allied with endemic corruption has seen Spain squander her wealth and her prospects. Now we are expecting Spain to become a net contributor to the EU in the next year or so – with no idea how this will happen.
How can a country in deep financial distress afford to spend so much money, for example, on a spiteful and totally pointless campaign to recover Gibraltar? The only reason this is such a thorn in the side of the Spanish government is that it now seen as a possible source of even more graft. The wealth that Gibraltar generates would soon be lost in the stultifying bureaucracy of Spain. The spite even goes so far as to try to prevent Gibraltar from becoming a full member of a football union.
How can a country as small as Spain spend time drafting legislation to create a “common market” within its own borders? Where is the logic in having 17 separate parliaments trying to create a single market to let people open businesses anywhere within the Spanish border once they have jumped through all the hoops to open one in one autonomous region?
The enormous waste involved in running 17 extra presidents and 17 extra parliaments will always be the monkey on the back of Spain. There is not only the simple financial cost but the inevitable posturing whenever the national government tries to create legislation and the consequent delays.
Britons look at Spain and see there are so many opportunities for EU funds to be “mislaid” within the huge, multiple bureaucracies that this, alone, is justification enough to leave the EU.
The current outcry about Rajoy and his envelopes full of cash is really just an artificial attempt to create indignation in the minds of ordinary Spaniards. When I speak to my Spanish neighbours, they all know that there is a system outside the official system to get work done. They know that you need to pay a Civil Servant to do his job (which is probably why 75% of university students are said to be aiming for a job in the Civil Service). If you need a licence, for example, they will know that you pay Juan to get on the list, you pay Xavier to ensure you have all the necessary papers, you pay Antonio to be moved up the list when the papers are accepted and then you pay Julio to issue the licence with no undue delay. They accept it because, in living memory, it has always been like this.
I have no doubt at all that a UK referendum will support UK withdrawal from the EU and I only hope that Spain is not a member when it happens.