Man kan inte mycket annat än att älska hur EU styrs och hanterar pengar. För 15:e året i rad har EUs budget inte godkänts, för 15:e året i rad… 15! Hur kan det få fortsätta så? Vart tar pengarna vägen?
TOP 10 EXAMPLES OF EU WASTE
€173,000 for a luxury golf resort
€173,274 in EU funds were given to the luxury golf resort, Monte da Quinta Club, in the Algarve, Portugal, where guests can choose between “the comfort of a villa with garden and private pool, or be dazzled by deluxe suites”. There is also a luxury spa, health club, several restaurants and bars, shops and a hairdresser.
€2,500 for Chairman of Porsche’s hunting retreat
Wolfgang Porsche, supervisory board Chairman of Porsche, received €2,500 in EU rural development funds for a small estate in Bavaria, Germany, where he goes hunting in his free time.
€100,000 for a luxury Spanish hotel chain
€99,877 in EU funds for 2009 alone were granted to Tils Curt, a chain of luxury restaurants and hotels across Spain, established in 1880. The funds were given as part of the Regional Development Fund.
‘Donkeypedia’: the blogging donkey
As part of the EU’s €7 million ‘Year of Intercultural Dialogue’ initiative, the European Commission ran an art education project called “Donkeypedia”, in which a donkey travels through the Netherlands, and primary school children meet and greet the donkey. The aim of the project was “creating a reflection of all European identities. What are the similarities, what are the differences? What is it that makes Europe as unique as it is? Donkeypedia will try to make this feeling tangible by interacting and in dialogue with its surroundings while walking a European route through several countries and collecting data to support this image.” The donkey, named Asino, also maintained a blog throughout the walk. One entry reads: “We started really early today, Cristian slept in a bed in a house. It was a crazy morning waking up. I was under a chestnut tree sleeping in sand, when I opened my eyes there were animals all looking at me. I was embarrassed! Now I understand a little how people from different cultures may feel in the Netherlands.”
€80,000 for a Swedish ‘virtual city’ in Second Life
In early 2008, Sweden’s third largest city, Malmo, was given an EU grant worth 800,000 Swedish kronor (€80,000), to create a virtual version of itself in “Second Life” – a virtual fantasy world inhabited by computer-generated residents. The project was an attempt to reach out to young people and envisioned some of Malmo’s most famous buildings – such as its library and university – to be mirrored in Second Life. In addition, the project included plans for a virtual “citizens’ office”, in which City officials could do their work and meet with those inhabitants of Malmö who were active in Second Life (the number of Malmo residents active on Second Life is thought to be very small).
In May 2009, Malmo was launched as a ‘virtual city’. By then, the budget had been busted – and the project had been subject to massive criticism, as Second Life was no longer regarded as the future of social media – particularly not amongst young people. One of the politicians involved in the project said: “Malmö wants to be at the forefront of IT, but we’re aware that Second Life is probably not at the absolute forefront anymore.” Joakim Jardenberg, of Swedish IT company Mindpark, added that he thought the project was a “bizarre joke” at first. “Second Life has never been particularly popular in Sweden. Facebook would have been a better tool”, he said. In March 2010 the project will be evaluated. If virtual Malmo does not have enough visitors by then, the project will be shut down.
€850,000 for a ‘gender equal’ wood design centre
Local politicians in Orsa, a village of 5,000 inhabitants in Sweden, wanted a new wood ‘design centre’, describing the idea as “a catalyst and meeting place for all creative activities”. The project description stressed that “the building would clearly display a gender equality design.” The project won co-financing from the EU’s structural funds, which provided €850,000 of the €1.7 million that was budgeted for the project. However, when the funds ran out, the politicians decided to combine the wood design centre with the village’s other EU project, a wildlife centre, which had cost €3.2 million up to that point. The wildlife centre was in need of a spectacular new entrance hall – which became the wood centre. In their final report on the project the politicians confessed that the building had not necessarily promoted cultural events, but proudly emphasised that all parts of the building were “equally accessible regardless of gender.”
€400,000 on a Marathon for a United Europe
In September 2008 the EU spent €400,000 on a “Marathon for a United Europe” for young people from across the EU. Among the aims for the three-day event in Greece was to “promote and support European citizen ideals.” On the official website the Marathon is described as “a completely European event supporting in every way the harmonious and prosperous coexistence of young people under the EU umbrella.”
The Swedish cannabis farmer
A Swedish farmer received around 2,000 kronor (€200) in subsides from the EU for land on which he grew cannabis plants. Selling the drug is illegal in Sweden, but growing the plant is allowed if it is used for “industrial” purposes – for example to produce robust nets – provided that the so-called THC dose in the plant is below 0.3%. The subsidy to the Swedish farmer was paid from the EU’s Single Farm Payment scheme, and the farmer had filled in all forms correctly. However, since farmers receive subsidies from this scheme irrespective of what they have grown on their land, there’s no obligation on the Swedish farmer to inform the authorities about what he actually intends to use the cannabis plants for.
€400,000 to get children drawing portraits of each other in the name of European citizenship
“Alter Ego” is an art competition running in at least 22 EU countries. The aim of the project, which used €400,000 of EU funds, is to encourage young people aged 14 to 18 to “explore different and varied identities, by creating a double portrait” – a portrait of themselves and someone from a different cultural background. The competition is intended to “Raise the awareness of all those living in the EU, in particular young people, of the importance of developing an active European citizenship.”
€198,500 for EU puppet theatre network in the Baltics
In 2008, the Estonian State Puppet theatre received €198,500 in EU funds for a project with the Latvian State Puppet theatre and Vilnius puppet theatre, which aimed to “develop the cooperation between the puppetry masters and museology specialists with the EU in order to find new and innovative ways on how to archive the puppet performances and present the exhibits in the puppetry art museums; encourage the Baltic countries to take more actively part in the intercultural dialogue; encourage the creation of puppetry art museums in other European puppet theatres.” This is not to be confused with the €105,996 EU grant the Estonian State Puppet Theatre received in 2006 “to explore the similarities and diversities within a range of European cultures and cultural expressions”, as reported in last year’s list of examples of EU waste.