Thursday, November 22, 2007

Here's hoping

The latest think tank in town obviously has no desire to make friends or perhaps even to influence people over here in Brussels. Or if it does it certainly has a strange way of going about things. The Globalisation Institute moved from London to Brussels a couple of months ago because its Director, Alex Singleton (seen to our right in a typically dignified display) spotted an obvious problem. His think tank concentrates on global trade issues, which are not decided in London but in Brussels.

However this press release may not be what the colleagues want to hear,

Abolish 12 unnecessary EU departments, urges Brussels think tank

12 European Commission government departments, known as directorate-generals, should be abolished according the Globalisation Institute, a Brussels-based think tank.

In a submission to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, the Institute says:

“These directorate generals gobble up hundreds of millions of European taxpayers’ money without providing any meaningful benefit to the public. Abolishing them would free up money for the European Commission’s core work on the environment, trade and ensuring competition, and give scope to member states for tax cuts.

The departments that the Institute proposes scrapping include, among others, Information Society and Media; Communication; Regional Policy; and Education & Culture (which runs no schools).

In addition, the Institute proposes that three internally-focussed departments should be privatised and face competition: Informatics (the IT department), Translation (the largest translation service in the world) and the Joint Research Centre (which produces contract research to Commission departments).

The proposals would reduce directly-employed staff in the Commission by 10716.

According to Alex Singleton, President of the Globalisation Institute:
“The Commission is in desperate need of reform. As we move from yesterday’s outdated vision of the “European Project”, it’s time to get rid of these wholly unnecessary departments. We cannot afford the overhead of so many needless bureaucrats in Brussels.”

The report can be read here

Of course my only criticism of the report is that it lacks ambition. How about the Committee of the Regions, the European Social and Economic Committee. Oh I could go on.


Anonymous said...

Brussels is too consensus-based. I think the Globalisation Institute has done the right thing here, saying something that in Brussels might be thought of as on the edge of insanity. But, you never know, a couple of years from now it might just be on the edge of policy.

Elaib Harvey said...

On a similar theme talking about EU withdrawal was an anathema only a short time ago. Today it is gaining respectability.

Anonymous said...

The respectability of EU withdrawal itself is not in doubt. The problem is those who represent it.

Likewise the Globalistation Institute badly represents its own case through its report. Its argument for abolishing the Regional Policy DG is that the Commission is geographically far away from many regions. Someone should tell the author that it is never a good idea to build your arguments around your conclusions.

Out of curiosity, how is the Institute funded?

Elaib Harvey said...

Ouch, but I take your point. However even here things are changing. Look at people like Ashley Mote and then look at people like Tim Congdon. That is a qualitative improvement in anybody's book.

ON The GI's funding, I am really not sure. It appears to be run out of Singleton's friont room, so however it is funded, it is not funded to any great extent. I have asked him about this, and he is niot evasive exactly but feels no need to tell me. He claims that it is mostly , that is well over 50% small personal donations rather than corporate donations. But hard details, I have none.