European Parliament hypocritical over euro

5 July 2005

European Parliament hypocritical over euro

“The euro is the most successful European project ever and should take precedence in the EU's information provision.” “It is of importance to use modern marketing techniques to sell the euro to the public as an attractive package.” These absurd viewpoints are taken from the Maaten Report on the EU's communication strategy as it concerns the euro, adopted today by the European Parliament (EP). In the SP's opinion, the Europhiles are once again planning to launch a money-wasting propaganda campaign, comparable to the government's campaign in favour of the proposed EU constitution.

Kartika LiotardKartika Liotard, Member of the European Parliament for the SP, bemoaned the fact that fans of the euro are following in the footsteps of the constitution's supporters. “Research has shown that the government's constitution campaign was counterproductive. Now a majority of the EP has voted in favour of launching a campaign in favour of the euro in an attempt to counter the growing scepticism about the currency evident amongst citizens in the countries which have adopted it as well as in the new member states.”

Ms Liotard believes that, in any case, quite enough money has already been wasted on extravagant euro campaigns. The European institutions have together spent around €300 million on promoting the single currency: “Is it really necessary now to spend millions in taxpayers' money to explain to Dutch citizens why they can buy less with their wages and pensions than they could before the euro was introduced? Wouldn't we be better devoting this money to improving social provision and accessible public services?”

The Parliament's 'Rapporteur' – the Member chosen to write a proposed policy position – Jules Maaten, also mentions the European Constitution in his report. According to Mr Maaten, who represents the most right-wing of the current governing parties, the VVD, it is, in addition to the other reasons he gives, very important to increase the euro's popularity because of the effect this will have on the Constitution's chances of being ratified. In other words, the huge unpopularity of the single European currency could well lead to still more negative results in referenda on the Constitution in those countries which have pledged to go ahead with them. In the SP's view, this is unacceptable, as it would be nothing more than a ruse to make funds available for pro-Constitution campaigns. Although the European Parliament has voted in favour of such campaigns, the budget for them should clearly be limited to the amounts voted, rather than money being added by sleight of hand.

While the European Parliament adopted the Maaten Report by a large majority. in the same session the Lauk Report on the Annual Report of the European Central Bank (ECB) was rejected. The Report, by German Christian Democrat Kurt Joachim Lauk, took an exceptionally positive view of the ECB's monetary policy, but Mr Lauk found that this assessment was not shared by a majority of his colleagues. As Ms Liotard observed, “It's quite hypocritical on the one hand to adopt a report asserting what a great success the euro has been, and on the other to express disapproval of the ECB's monetary policy. Clearly a lot of things are not going according to plan.”

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