Tonight at the European Parliament's Budgets Committee the assembled members will take a vote on the:
Transfer of appropriations C3/2005
from: Chapter 101 "Contingency reserve"
to: Chapter 27 "Expenditure on publishing and information"
Chapter 101 might usefully be described as a slush fund, it can be spent by the Budgets Committee without the need for a full vote of the Parliament in plenary. There is currently 12 million euros sloshing around in the Contingency fund and it has been decided to transfer 7,680,000 euros to the new "publishing and information" budget line.
Now follow me closely here because this is one of the various propaganda budgets for the Yes vote, paid for out of your money. You see part of the infamous Corbett Inigo Mendez de Vigo Report last month was a section that implored the parliament to make "all possible efforts be deployed in order to inform European citizens clearly and objectively about the content of the Constitution"
So here we go. How will the money be spent?
Well we are told that it will be based;
"In particular, it will draw attention to the significance of the fundamental values which the Constitution espouses - peace, solidarity, participatory democracy, citizenship, fundamental rights, equal opportunities, justice, transparency etc. – and highlight the progress it represents in terms of
simplification, efficiency, transparency and democratic accountability."
All alien concepts in your average European country before the EU Constitution comes into force as I am sure you will agree.
It points out that the money should be spent disproportionably in countries where there are referenda;
"the European Parliament will distinguish between Member States where the Constitution is to be ratified by means of a referendum and those where it is to be ratified by the country’s parliament, with priorities set accordingly".
What is particularly impressive is that they recognise that the if the Pärliament arrived with its great propagandist boots on, then locals would smell at rat so the money will be targeted in a semi detached way,
"The European Parliament will ensure that its activities cannot be seen as
interfering in the ratification process organised by the national authorities."
The weasel words of course being "cannot be seen", not cannot do, just cannot be spotted doing so.
The breakdown of the cash is as follows.
Nature of expenditure 2005 (€)
Press cuttings 200.000 -
Publications 1.600.000 -
Information activities for the public 1.800.000
Exhibitions and fairs 450.000
Seminars, especially with the media 550.000
Audiovisual information measures by external offices (TV and radio)
Production and dissemination of TV/Radio products
TOTAL (€) 7.680.000
At all times the emphasis is in the orginal. The link is to the French document, because there is no online version in any other language - quelle suprise.
Of course the Budget Committee might vote against it.
No they didn't oppose it, however it was getting close to 9 pm. A German liberal asked an wawkward question, the Chairman of the Committee wearily looked at his watch and postponed the vote until the next meeting - on the 8th March.
It will still be passed, with little or no change, of that I am sure.