SP demands end to EU subsidies for multinationals

5 January 2013

SP demands end to EU subsidies for multinationals

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel wants to see multinationals disqualified from receiving EU subsidies designed to contribute to the development of poorer regions and to this end is calling for a tightening up of the rules governing such subsidies. Van Bommel’s demands were made in response to today’s revelations in the national daily Trouw regarding the use of EU subsidies in Poland. ‘This is the umpteenth example I’ve seen of EU wastefulness,’ says Van Bommel. We have already seen how agriculture subsidies are being paid to golf clubs and to the English royal family. Now money meant to help unemployed people in poor member states is being spent on luxury courses for managerial staff of profit-making corporations such as Unilever, Pepsi, Mercedes Benz and Deutsche Bank. EU subsidies aren’t supposed to be used to beef up the profits of big firms and the European rules should ban this.’

The SP has long argued for reduced but more effective EU subsidies. Half of the subsidies which should be paid to poorer regions are paid to regions in the richest member states, such as Flevoland, a Dutch region which has received moneys in the past. This represents an unnecessary process in which money is pumped back and forth between the member states and Brussels. In addition, the European Court of Auditors has still never been able to approve a budget, primarily because of inadequate monitoring in the member states.

The Court of Auditors also has justifiable concerns over the funds’ effectiveness, as was once again illustrated by the Trouw article. ‘In the ongoing negotiations on the EU’s multi-annual budget the government is quite rightly trying to have the Dutch contribution lowered,’ notes Van Bommel, ‘but the question of monitoring and control threatens to become a side-issue. That’s not right. Even worse than handing over too much cash to Brussels is seeing it badly spent and used to enrich the profits of wealthy multinationals. Support for the European Union will fall still further if this sort of practice is soon to be approved for another seven years.’

Van Bommel today lodged a written parliamentary question on the issues with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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