Comment: Why we need EU Reform

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The Conservative victory begins an important chapter in the country’s future, whilst the rise of UKIP is important in making sure that we achieve real reform in Europe. I voted conservative and would not vote UKIP because I don’t see the country’s main problem being immigration, which I believe is helpful; especially when there is a shortage of low skilled workers in the country and the net benefit is positive.

Nigel_Farage_MEP_1,_Strasbourg_-_Diliff

Is the most important feature of UKIP’s rise the increased discussion of the EU, in particular reform?

Whenever anyone mentions European reform, or the referendum on the membership of the EU, i.e. agreeing somewhat with UKIP, they seem to be shouted down on social media as racist or xenophobic. Needless to say I am neither of these and am myself half Dutch. The problem, however, I see with the EU, taking economic matters out of the argument, is the sheer scale and waste of the organization.

I love Europe and believe that the UK should be a part of a type of EU, whether that has freedom of movement or not.  What must be changed is the EU itself. People tend confuse the EU with Europe which is a real problem. Currently there are 4 presidents of the EU, all-earning over 300K per year, who pay their own specially invented tax rate (around 20%). These are the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, Presidency of the Council of the European Union and President of the European Parliament.

Side note: I am particularly baffled as to what the differences between the European council and the council of the EU are.

Whether you regard the external schemes of the EU as necessary or not, for example spending on agricultural subsidies (which hurt African farmers by the way), the administration fees of the EU are around 6.8 billion euros a year (7% of the total budget), which is mainly spent on salaries, travel costs and building maintenance.

The UK contributes 13 billion euros per year; so on average spends around 900 million each year on EU politician’s salaries. I am sure there is a much better way for that money to be spent within the UK, or even on foreign aid, than lining the pockets of MEPS. We do need reform in Europe and it’s not racist or even Eurosceptic to want it. The benefit of UKIP has been bringing a discussion of the functioning of the EU into the national consciousness, which Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the greens refuse to do. Solely considering the figures I am confident that most would agree with the need for real reform.

I am hoping for genuine change in the EU and am looking forward to the referendum in 2017 when I can vote to stay in a stronger and more streamlined EU. Just don’t get me started on a United States of Europe…

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Sebastian Tonks is an Economics Student. He writes about national British politics.

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