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The European administration costs taxpayers between 92 billion euro and 750 billion euro

01 April 2014 / 12:04:58  GRReporter
1844 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Shortly before the elections for members of the new European Parliament Athens was one of the stops of the Free Market Road Show campaign organized from 26 March to 12 May by the liberals of Europe and the United States.

"Taxpayers in Europe pay the bureaucracy in Brussels 92 billion euro to create legislation that reduces competition and the opportunities for economic development," said Associate Professor of Economics and head of Friedrich Hayek Institute in Vienna Barbara Kolm.

She criticized the lack of transparency regarding the benefits of MEPs and the salaries of the officials in the European administration, and called for reducing the number of European commissioners. "It is not necessary for each country to be represented by one commissioner. All this creates huge bureaucracy that continually produces legislation which in turn hinders the free economic development. The European Union is a tool, not a state," she said.

Kolm urged citizens to reject the tradition of low participation in the European elections and to vote. According to her, there are a number of challenges facing European countries. "The bomb in terms of pensions, the cost of the welfare state, the migration, the job markets, education and youth unemployment, the lack of competitiveness and productivity, the debt crisis and the euro are the main ones."

According to Bulgarian economist and philosopher Professor Krassen Stanchev, however, the 92 billion euro is only the administrative cost of the European administration. "In 2001 it was 535 billion euro. Then they changed the method of calculation. I think that today we pay between 750 billion euro and 800 billion euro for its expenses," he said.

Krassen Stanchev indicated that the economic rise of the European Union is due to the fact that the Member States have carried out structural reforms in their economies prior to their membership in it. He cited the example of Bulgaria which, since 1997, has gone through the longest period of prosperity from its independence to date. "During this period, the country has not only doubled its gross domestic product but it has also increased it to 225%," he said.

At the same time, he criticized the European leaders of having, in the course of time, drifted away from the problems faced everyday by European Union citizens such as immigration, the rights of different minorities, the restriction of religious freedoms and the rise of nationalist and far-right parties. "This has formed a vacuum that is filled by populists," he said.

Finally, Krassen Stanchev said that in order for the European Union to survive in the coming years, it must become a free trade zone.

Leader of the Greek Liberal Alliance party and candidate for mayor of Athens in the upcoming municipal elections Grigoris Valianatos indicated all issues related to the compliance with the fundamental human rights which Greece and Europe have not yet resolved.

"What is the difference between immigrants and refugees according to Europe? How are basic human rights challenged by religious fundamentalism? How do we treat the Roma, sex workers and the gay community? What is our attitude towards the legalization of the use of certain drugs, what does terrorism mean to us and are some of those convicted of terrorism actually terrorists or are they people who object to something according to their conscience. What is nationalism? All these and many other questions are inextricably linked to our fiscal programme," said Valianatos. He expressed his belief that he would win the mayoral seat in Athens and would provide concrete solutions to the issues that are set out in the "most progressive election programme that has ever been made in Greece."

Tags: PoliticsEuropean UnionLiberalsEuropean electionsBarbara KolmKrassen StanchevGrigoris Valianatos
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