Does the EU Work For Us? Newsnight

Does the EU Work For Us?

An EU referendum special with Evan Davis. Does the European Union work? How much does it cost, where does British money go and can an organisation of its size ever be efficient?

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Too few of us understand how the EU works.


The EU is meant to be a family of nations, a large,


sprawling family speaking different languages, often unable to take


decisions and frequently arguing over money.


We've a packed studio of politicians, experts,


and the public, to work out whether the EU is effective


We ride the gravy train with John Sweeney.


Each month the entire European Parliament moves from Brussels to


Strasbourg, is here for a week, and then moves back to Brussels, in


boxes like this. People say it's a fantastic waste of time and money.


And does the EU spend money to suit other countries much


The good French go and set fire to motorways and spread muck in the


middle of Brussels, things if I did, I would be put away probably for


life. Welcome to the fifth


of our special programmes, aimed at helping you come


to a decision on how to vote Tonight, we getting


into the nitty-gritty. We won't be talking


about the Third World War, or Hitler, we shall be focussing


on some detail. We'll look at the money


of ours that it spends, I wonder if anybody would


argue the EU works well. Or will the Remain side simply argue


that it doesn't work As usual, we have a politician


on each side of debate. We have a supporting cast of experts


and professionals who keep And we have our regular group


of undecided voters. Well, they were undecided


when we started but they're Voters, let's start with you. We're


talking about the EU and Brussels. Do you feel you understand it? Any


of you feel you know your way round? No. Detached. That's the word I


would say. Any other words that come to mind? Fragmented. Inaccessible. I


thought those might be some of the words.


Grur Ireland originally -- you're from Ireland originally. Got quite a


lot out of it, that's one of the places where all the money went.


Yes, during the 80s we became the agricultural side of things. We did


quite well. Arguably started the boom back then and became prosperous


after that. It has been a good thing for us. Anding la, I know you're a


para-- Angela, I know you're a parallel, do you see Brussels laws,


are they sensible, well drafted? I find there's an influx of directives


and of regulations, so I think we're overdosed with it frankly. Really?


Yeah. What word Sian would you use? I would say gravy train. I would go


along those lines. This sounds like the Remain side has persuading to do


in the debate. There have been others that were more even handed.


We'll see whether you change your views by the time we come to the end


of the tea bait. -- debate.


Now, let's start with the money side of things -


Throughout the campaign, we have heard one figure oft repeated.


It is that we spend ?350 million a week on it -


there it is, you can see Boris Johnson attempting to angle


grind it into oblivion at a Vote Leave media event.


Actually, it's not the best measure of the cost,


so what are the facts on the EU budget?


Start with that famous figure, ?350 million a week. What does that mean?


Here's this week's 350 million. Merci. First get it into a


comprehensible scale, 5. ?5.30 a week for each person in the country.


Here's this week's 5. ?5.30. Thank you. Ignore that, it's the notional


full price of EU membership, we though get mates' rates, a deal


called the rebate. Take that off and the cost is ?4 per week for each of


us. Actually you only owe us ?4. That's our money the EU controls.


We'd get that back if we left. But the EU spends a third of that here.


Most of it goes on farmers and to some poorer regions. 1. 30 back for


farmers and the poor parts of the country. Thank you. It's not clear


how we would choose to spend that, but if you take it off, the net cost


of the EU to Britain is ?2.70 per person, per week. What it is is not


350 million a week, it's half that, 175. The EU budget overall primarily


exists to take money from rich countries and give it to poor


countries and to farmers. We're not poor and don't have so many farmers,


so we end up putting in more than most. If you look at what we all put


in, net per head, Britain makes the seventh biggest contribution, less


than the Germans, more than the French. We're in the half of EU


countries that pay in, half or just over take out.


It would be nice to have ?5 billion to ?10 billion more


per year to spend here - no doubt about it.


But remember that most economists think we're


If they're right, and if the economy grows faster IN the EU than out


of it, then it's worth spending a few billion to get


Let me just see if we can get our politicians


to agree on the basic facts of the budget.


For Remain, we have the Secretary of State for Energy


And for Leave, the Ukip MP, Douglas Carswell.


Good evening both. Kate Hoey said if we vote to leave we have 350 million


we send to Brussels each week that can be spent on the NHS. It can't,


can it? It's fair to talk about 350 million a week, let me explain why.


If you look at the Office of National Statistics figures, last


year we spent 19. 1 billion on money that we handed over control to


Brussels. There are 52 weeks in a year, divide that per week and you


get a figure slightly over the 350 million. It's money over which we've


creeded control. -- ceded control. We get a rebate... We have a veto.


It's up for grabs every few years. In 2020 it's up for grabs again.


What Tony Blair was in charge, he handed half the rebate away. We


don't have to, though, it's negotiated It's not just the rebate.


The money is spent at the discretion of the EU not us. We would not have


the rebate, we're not sending the rebate over. We don't even send it.


Hang on, you know the rebate is paid a year in arrears. We are handing it


over. We get it back the following year. It's quite legitimate to say


we hand over control 350 million... Britain sends 350 million a we're to


the EU. We don't send that because we don't send the rebate. Why did


the Statistics Commission say it was potentially problematic to use that


figure. It's 19. $1 billion... That doesn't confirm that figure. It puts


that figure in for illustration. I brought this letter because it's


over then cited and spun. The facts reinforce everything - Before the


rebate, it would be 18 billion. It makes it clear that actually when we


give all this money to Brussels, about 9 billion of it we never see


it again. It subsidises Mr Juncker's jet or pay for tobacco farmers in


Greece. Should we attach the same credibility to all the claims your


campaign is making that you want us to attach to that one. It's factual.


Every week we hand over - We get a rebate. We don't control that. What


do you mean? We don't pay it. We couldn't spend that money on the NHS


because we don't send it to Brussels. We're highly vulnerable


because the rebate is not in control, no British Government can


guarantee that. I was hoping we could get agreement on that one. It


isn't 350 million by any normal view of it, it may not be a hospital


every week or whatever the thing is, but it is a hospital every two


weeks. Can I just comment on Douglas and his campaign's use of the 350


million. It is misleading. I would urge you and your team to stop using


it. The fact is we do spend money sending over to the EU, but it's not


350 million. I think it's probably, after we account for the rebate and


take into account what we receive back, it's more like about 17


million a day. There is a cost, though. I wouldn't look at it in


terms a hospital or schools. What really counts for strong public


service ises a strong economy. If we're going to have a strong


economy, we need to be in the single market. It's wholly misleading to


look at this in terms of trying to net off the costs we pay into the EU


against spending money here. A strong economy will deliver strong


public services. I made that point for you. I don't want to pay much


time on that debate. To help us drill down a little more,


we thought we'd look at how Cumbria has been receiving


European investment Hadrian's Wall runs through it


into Northumberland. These days Cumbria gets a fair


amount of cash, thanks to the EU. So would it, if we left


the European Union? The EU budget is divided broadly


into two big chunks. One big chunk that goes to farmers,


through the common agricultural policy, and the other big chunk that


goes to poorer regions and nations There's about ?4


billion all together. A large chunk of which goes


to farmers and the rest goes to poorer regions of the UK,


for example, Cornwall, There's no question


about whether we could afford to keep funding those


sorts of projects. The question is whether we would


choose to keep funding them once Let's start with the ?3


billion or so we spend Lots of farmers have


a very clear view. For me, for this farm,


for where I am halfway up a hillside in Cumbria,


it frightens me to death the thought The support I get from the European


CAP keeps me farming here, keeps me producing food and keeps


the countryside That's what we're paid for apart


from producing food. A post Brexit Britain could afford


to keep that going. I have absolutely no


confidence that they will do. Every time there's been a CAP


reform, no matter whether it's been Labour or Conservative Government,


they've gone to Brussels to get The fact that French farmers


are better lobbyists Absolutely, yes, the good French,


they go and set fire to motorways and spread muck


in the middle of Brussels, things if I did, I would probably


be put away for life. Vote Leave have said,


"We would not cut agricultural subsidies if we leave


the EU," but they're arguing against a consensus that


includes most of Whitehall The UK has been, over the last


decade, one of the main countries in the EU trying to reduce


the common agricultural policy. My expectation would be that over


the medium run we would reduce somewhat the amount of subsidies


that farmers get. Maryport in Cumbria has won grants


in the ?1 billion a year EU This fund is distributed by local


British decision makers, but the cash must be handed out


following EU rules. West Wales and Cornwall get special


attention as our poorest regions, but Cumbria as a so-called


transition region Recently with EU funding


Love Maryport, a local group, trying to help promote the town,


has received money. We've managed to do more finger


posts, more maps and signage around The EU also put money


into basic infrastructure like this dock bridge,


the marina and even At initial set up in 1996,


something called the European Development Fund provided me


with about 30% of capital costs and more recently, the flag


fisheries local action group provided me with nearly 50% grant


on this new extension we're in now. But this EU regional funding


is dwarfed by flows of UK public We transfer vast sums


of money from richer parts of our country to poorer,


sometimes subtly via welfare and public services,


sometimes explicitly It's not fair to say that we left


the European Union you would get For us in Maryport we receive


funding from different streams. It's hard to say what


the effect leaving Do you think we would have a similar


grant structure if we were to leave? Maybe not similar, but I think


the money could probably be Certainly there would be less


bureaucracy involved. The effects of Brexit on regional


funding might be very small, but lots of farmers are not sanguine


about their subsidies. The critical selling point of Brexit


for most people is that Britain That is precisely what


worries most farmers. So let's focus on the budget


and what we get back. Amber Rudd, you do have to admit it


seems more sensible for us to spend money in the UK than for us to give


it to Brussels for them to spend? I would say this is part of a package,


part of the deal of being in the club is that we do send over a


larger sum than we receive back and then part of the decision-making is


made in the EU. The UK has a major role in deciding how that is spent.


Sometimes people underestimate the role of the UK in influencing the


shape of the EU decision-making. Presumably, we could administer all


those things ourselves, there would be no great loss because we would


save money? That is certainly true. There is a compromise position which


is if you are a member of a club and you have decided the club has


benefits for you, there will be additional bureaucracy. Overall, is


it a good thing? Is it adding to the strength of the economy? The answer


is yes. Do you, would you spend as much on farmers as the EU does if we


had the choice over that money ourselves? As was said earlier, we


have been explicit, the UK, that we would like to see the amount


reduced. That is across the EU, that is not just for the UK. That would


be a good reason, you are saying it would be a good reason to leave


because we would be able to cut our farmers' subsidies in a way that we


can't when we are in the EU? No, because I'm saying I want to have a


level playing field for everybody. Farming is incredibly important for


the UK. I don't want us to have a different subsidy to the rest of the


EU. Having a level playing field makes sure our farmers remain


competitive. Douglas Carswell, we vote for Brexit, we get the money


back, how would you use the power, the freedom you have got? Some great


projects receive funding from the EU. If we were outside, if we had


control over the money ourself, we could spend more. I think it is


wonderful that we have put money towards farmers. Because they are so


efficient they are discriminated against by the Common Agricultural


Policy. Our farmers are way down the league table in terms of the per


acreage payment. You would give farmers more money or less money? I


would want to see us use the capacity to put more money into


farming, perhaps to do slightly more environmentally protective things,


but that would be my own personal choice. We certainly can't spend


?350 million a week on the NHS because you have spent it on farm


subsidies? I'm not writing a future budget... You can't double-count it.


You asked me for my personal view. If, for every ?1 we put in, we get


less than 50p back. If we had control of our own money, we could


spend it better than we are spending it now. Your feeling is, because we


heard the farmers says the French are better at lobbying than we are,


so we like being in the EU because that keeps subsidy levels up. Every


year we give the Common Agricultural Policy ?4.6 billion. We get ?2.9


billion back. We could do better. Our panel tonight consists


of Sir Stephen Wall, our former Permanent Representative


to the EU. Minette Batters, Deputy President


of the National Farmers' Union. We also have Dia Chakravarty,


Political Director of Her organisation is not taking


a political position, Our final panellist is Tara Palmeri,


a Brussels-based journalist Because we are on agriculture, I


should bring you in, Minette Batters. What is your fear of


leaving, what happens to farmers and the budget that goes to them? I


think you have to look at it in the wider context. It all remains in


politicians' hands, we have to look at the fact we do not have a


ringfenced department. We have never had in the last 20 years any form of


robust food policy. We have 65 million people in this country to


feed so a robust food policy, farmers produce 62% of UK food


supplies, but it's got to be a Common Agricultural Policy. We


cannot be disadvantaged in the marketplace. Most of our farmers


would much prefer to farm without subsidy. It is there to protect them


from market failure. We have an ongoing retail price war so huge


challenges for farmers that are producing food. What is curious


about this conversation is, for the last 30 years I thought I had been


brought up, almost fed a diet on the CAP is a waste of money and getting


rid of it was one of the reasons to get out of the EU. I'm hearing all


of you, Douglas, Minette, Amber, you are in favour of money going to


farmers? I think it is important to emphasise that if we vote to leave,


we will continue to support our farmers. The CAP has been reformed,


it has been reformed a lot over the past years. There's been much more


focus on environmental strength within farming. Your average dairy


farmer - we have talked a lot about milk - your average dairy farmer is


receiving a support payment of ?25,000. Your average dairy farm


costs ?40,000 per month to run that business, without taking any wages


out so that puts it into context that you have a small amount of


money. Dia Chakravarty, you are from the Taxpayers' Alliance, you are


meant to be arguing against all forms of public spending? The few


things I have heard so far is Amber saying whatever the amount is that


we are sending out, we are sending out more, look at the gross number


or the net, we are sending out more than we are receiving. By coming


out, that means we have a bigger pot of money to play with. I have also


heard Minette put a passionate argument for the farmers. I don't


understand why we can't put that argument to our Westminster


politicians such as Amber and Douglas, so if you were to come out


of the EU, why couldn't we make those arguments to the Westminster


Government and make sure our farmers have what they need? Why does the


decision have to be made in Brussels? We will be doing that. We


would be making the case to Westminster... You fear the money


wouldn't come to you if you had to argue it to the Westminster


politicians? We haven't got a ringfenced department. We haven't


had a food policy. Amber has said there has been a Government policy


to look at lowering supportive payments. Would we have that


mechanism to back us? I have also heard that it's been a mechanism


EU-wide, the idea is to bring CAP down EU-wide so you will have to


make the argument at the Brussels level. Why not make those arguments


here? Douglas? In the clip there was some talk about the importance of


regional funds. Surely, if Albania, Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia all join


the EU in the next few years, is there going to be scope in the


budget for continued regional funding? I think that is a real


cause of concern. You have gone on to where I wanted to go, which is we


have looked at agriculture. Most people here are in favour of


agricultural subsidies. The money that we get back is spent on our


agriculture. All the money we give effectively is spent on helping


poorer nations? That is not necessarily always the case. 70% of


the budget goes on helping other countries? 1.4 million went to the


Swedish King's farm. 1.5 million is a lot of money. Amber Rudd, what is


the right amount for Britain to give in overseas aid, development aid to


Eastern and Central Europe? The UK has its own target. This is on top


of that. It is done by negotiation. The EU together put in a ?1 billion


fund to stop the Ebola virus... I'm talking about the the development


aid we give to Eastern Europe, to the countries in the EU, we are


chucking money basically... I don't think we are chucking it. I would


take issue with the point that we had a certain amount to play with.


There is a cost to being in the EU. We think it is about, I would say,


not the ?350 million, but that delivers us to membership which


makes sure our economy is stronger so we don't have ?5.8 billion to


play with, we have a much more successful and stronger economy. We


can't look at the cost here. OK. Give me the benefits of us giving


money to Poland and to Lithuania and Estonia, they are getting a lot of


money out. We are putting in. Explain to our panel of voters what


is the benefit of us putting money in on top of the development budget


that we have for poorer countries to give to them? The benefit is about


being in the single market. By being in the single market we have access


to 500 million other people, we have access to an enormous amount of


trade potential. Food... This is like a subscription that you have to


pay to get some other benefits. It is good to be part of the single


market and what I object to in terms of the Leave campaign is it is


unclear what the alternative is. It is perfectly possible to have market


access to the single market to trade with the single market without


subsidising the free jet travel of Jean-Claude Juncker, Greek tobacco


farmers. It is money we never see again and it is spent on things that


are not a priority for us. I don't want to get into an argument - we


did the single market one a few weeks back. I'm trying to work out


whether there are benefits to us from Poland developing and from the


Czech Republic and Lithuania. You are not trying to make that case,


Amber Rudd. You are saying that is the price you have to pay. I can


make the case in terms of my own department. We want to make sure


that we support Poland for instance and making sure that they make some


changes for moving away from coal. We want to make sure we address our


climate change commitments within the EU. This is in the UK's


interest. Having additional influence within the EU, which we


can use by being part of this group and being a net donor is helpful to


the UK. Sir Stephen Wall? When Portugal emerged from dictatorship


in the 1970s, it was almost taken over by communism. Thanks to the


offer of membership of the EU, proper democracy, liberal democracy


was established in Portugal. The same thing happened in Spain. The


same thing has happen in the countries of Eastern and Central


Europe who weren't guaranteed after the fall of communism to become


stable democracies. Are we... It is a decision that everybody has to


make. One aspect of this debate is, do we think it is worthwhile in our


national interests supporting the stability and democracy of those


countries? That was the case I thought you were going to give,


Amber. Douglas Carswell... Are we seriously suggesting we are giving


?350 million every week to Brussels to stop communism in Portugal? We


are not giving ?350 million a week and on your point about the rebate


being vulnerable, Margaret Thatcher, your leader of the party you used to


belong to, when she negotiated it, she ensured it can only be changed


if we want it to be changed. Sometimes it is really funny how the


Remain side has come across as inward-looking. Amber talks about


how we need to have a level playing field for other people to be able to


take part, poorer countries, et cetera. You have said how it can be


a benevolent thing encouraging democracy abroad. If you look at


countries outside the EU, Bangladesh, that side of the world,


the EU doesn't look like a level playing field advocating nice clubs.


It likes like a cartel of rich countries. For years, the EU has


kept farmers completely out of this nice little club that we have here.


I don't really like hearing the Remain side saying, we are also


benevolent. For a lot of countries who are not part of the EU...


Commonwealth countries have privileged access to the EU market


and the EU is the world's largest overseas aid donor so we are


doing... Why can't we have trade rather than aid? We have 50 free


trade agreements around the world. I will give Minette a right of reply


on the specific allegation that we don't have much trade in agriculture


because it is true, farmers are an important lobby in the EU, and the


idea of free trade is like extracting teeth to get through...


Trade, whether we like it or not, is negotiated in blocks. That is a


fact. The South America countries, a deal has been on the table for 15


years and what has held a lot of that back is the potential for


80,000 tonnes of beef to come on to our marketplace which the EU is


protecting and we will be doing the same in the UK. There is an element


of saying we can do it here well enough. We want to protect that. You


look at other trading blocks, the Pacific trading blocks you have USA,


Canada, New Zealand, all working together as a block. The Canadian


trade deal could seven years and there are still sensitive


agricultural products in there. Trade takes a long time to


negotiate. We've covered agriculture, there are


arguments to be had on that. Stephen gave us an interesting point about


stability in Europe. That's what we get by putting money in and


developing those eastern and Central European economies. Do you recognise


that or not? If you look at the growth rates in the eurozone they


have stability. I'm not sure that's the stability you want. That would


still be there if we weren't in the EU, the euro would still exist. Do


you think it's a good use of British public money to help economies in


Europe that are coming from fascism or Communism? No, I never think that


government to government subsidy is a good way of developing countries.


In you want to encourage development you have to encourage people to take


part in a network of specialisation and exchange called globalisation.


What the EU tends to do is subsidise the growth of big regulatory


restrict of bureaucracy. That's why the single market countries happen


to be the countries not growing particularly fast. Do you not think


that the EU has been good for the likes of Spain, Portugal, let's


leave Greece out of it for the time being. Indeed. Spain, Portugal and


the countries of eastern and Central Europe? If you're a young Spaniard


growing up today unemployment is sky high. Yes maybe 30 years ago, there


was a lot in it. But it's ultimately a question for Spanish people to


decide. I'm not sure that it's the benevolent force that many eurocrats


like to think of it as. Is that because of the euro specifically?


Everything from monetary policy to subsidies tend to go wrong. In not


one S size fits all. You look at the UK. Not in the eurozone. Out of the


Schengen zone. We can have the best of both worlds. The less Europe the


better. No, within the confines of the club each country can engage


with it as they choose to do so. It's difficult balance. But it's one


that protects our peace and prosperity. Audience, you've heard


the first half of this discussion about the budget, how the money is


spent. A lot on agriculture. A lot on poorer countries. Any thoughts?


Any responses to what we've heard? Let me ask you a question to warm


you up, how many feel it is good that British taxpayers, through the


EU give money to the development of countries in eastern and Central


Europe? You do basically. You were looking hesitant there. Don't be


pressured bit others. No, I had to think about it. I know you work for


a charity. Do you get money from the EU? Yes, we get donations from the


European social fund. That's helped us carry out our work in Britain.


Without that money, we would not be able to support as many vulnerable


people that we do. But you're only in the UK, as a charity? Yes. Why do


you get it from the European social fund? That's how it's distributed.


Wouldn't it be better if you just got it from the UK Government? I


guess the EU's made the social fund, it's made a priority. We support


vulnerable older people. The EU has made that a priority with the


Government, if the money wasn't there, would the Government make


older people the priority? The reason that regions and local


authorities compete for this money is because it includes counterpart


funding from the national Government. They don't believe,


probably rightly, they would get that funding were it not for the


framework of those projects. The fact that they have behind them, as


it were, the power of the European Union, gives them bargaining


strength of central Government. That's why they fight to keep this


money. I wonder how much of that funding will be available once


Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Turkey join the EU. They can't join.


We spent ?2 billion preparing them to join. So I think they will. They


can't until they fill the cons, A, the ebbing no ammic conditions of


membership and democratic conditions of membership. Every member state


has to agree they will join. Let's call a halt to future expansion.


Let's move on. If the EU wants to be


thought of as well run, it doesn't just need


to spend money wisely. It needs institutions that


are effective, rational and efficient that focus


on the right things. Now here's the problem: often big


organisations are more bureaucratic They find it harder to be lean


and mean and on the case. They have to take account


of more competing interests. And let's face it, the EU is pretty


big, with its 508 million Well, we wanted to send John Sweeney


to Brussels to find out - but he chose to go to Strasbourg


instead. Bienvenue a la train


de sauce European. Or, in English, welcome


to the European gravy train. What's happening is so crazy it's


worth making the point again. Each month, the entire


European Parliament moves from Brussels to Strasbourg,


it is here for a week, and then moves all the way back


to Brussels in boxes like this. People say it is a fantastic


waste of time and money. This is the labrynth


where the elected representatives of half a billion people and 28 nation


states meet to talk euro shop. There's a simple problem, I don't


know what any of the MEPs look like. I don't know who they are. But we've


heard a tip-off that they wear their badges like this and they're blue.


What are we doing here and why aren't we in Brussels? Oh, that's a


good question. We should be in one place. Of course, it is a waste ever


money. Now that the European Union we have financial problems. The


Parliament has moved to Strasbourg for a week. Yes, yes. Is that a good


use of European taxpayers money. Not at all. The Strasbourg shuffle costs


the European taxpayer ?130 million a year. The euro MPs have voted


against the move, but they're blocked by a French veto. Hard wired


into the rule book of the EU. I track down a French MEP to challenge


him. - as best I can. For the critics Strasbourg is a


handy metaphor for the entire European project - over the top,


needlessly expensive and ever so very disconnected. Ukip's Mike


Hookham is one such. Here he is in the chamber, denouncing the folly,


as he sees it, of Europe's open-border policy. On the other


hand, you could argue this empire lets its critics have their say.


Afterwards, I track him down. Hi, John Sweeney from Newsnight. Mike


thinks the EU is a monster and so... At the moment, I'm campaigning to


make myself redundant on the 24th. There's a para-Dom there. How's --


paradox there. How's it going? It's looking favourable at the moment.


Then I will slip back into obscurity, where I came from. Mike


takes me to his office, a room he barely inhabits. Oh, wow. This is


your empire. This is it. I've got another office in Brussels,


basically the same as this. If Britain must choose between Europe


and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea. Do you agree


with that? Yes, I do actually. But for people like Mike, who think


that real clout lies with the European Union, not the nation


state, consider this paradox, that the only reason Europe goes to


Strasbourg every month is because of the power of one state to override


the wishes of Europe as a whole


John Sweeney in the European quarter of Brussels.


No-one accusing him of going native, I suspect.


Right, for the next part of the discussion -


does the EU work or not - a union so unwieldy that it can't


You were actually, because you report on these affairs, you were in


Strasbourg yourself last week, it? -- was it? Yes, the regular track to


Strasbourg, five-hour train ride, with all the trunks. I find it to be


fascinating the entire system, just because I come from the United


States and we're 50 states, but we're a federalist system. It takes


eight-and-a-half months to pass legislation through the House and


Senate. Whereas in the European Parliament with eight different


political parties, 28 different member states, it takes about 22


months to get legislation to pass. It's a lot slower. It is more


bureaucratic in that sense. In a way, some will say that's great


because it means that you're not forced legislation that hasn't been


fully communicated, talked about, passed from the council to the


Parliament, but at the same time, I can see where there's a lot of


frustration when you're trying to be forward looking and entrepreneurial


and a forward-looking Europe, it seems like it's holding it back a


bit, because of all the compromise. What lesson do you take from the


fact that Europe can't sort out such a basic peace of -- piece of house


keeping as this ridiculous Strasbourg move, no-one supports it.


We certainly don't. It's about the political decision that's were made


at the time. That's why the French object to it now. It reflects the


fact that it's a compromise, the European Union. We have to look at


whether it works for the UK or not. It's right that we're doing that


now. There are elements of it that are imperfect to say the least. It's


interesting because one thing you might take from it is you just don't


want to create or be in such an unwieldy organisation. We don't have


to be in it. It is very unwieldy. We don't have to be in it. Don't we


have to weigh up what the benefits are? Why throw the baby out with the


bath water? This is imperfect, the business of going from Strasbourg to


Brussels, absolutely. Then you have to look at the report that treasure


gave us today -- treasury gave us today if we're out of the EU we


could have a 36 billion black hole. It's pros and cons. The UK doesn't


have a strong role in the European Parliament. The Tories are no longer


part of the largest political group. So they don't have the same sort of


power when they're trying to negotiate for these kind of, you


know, government wastes going on. The last Strasbourg I was at, they


spent time talking about how to create a gym inside the Parliament.


They're concerned with having their chauffeurs. The whole Parliament or


the Tories? I'm talking about the entire Parliament. If there was more


UK influence inside the Parliament, maybe some of this waste could be


effectively cut out. That's down to us. Dare I say it, it was David


Cameron who decided to take the Conservatives out of the largest


centre-right group. It's up to the electorate, who voted 24 Ukip MEPs


who take little part in the proceedings, and therefore aren't


representing the interests of their constituents. As a large member


state, we have 10% of the membership of the European Parliament. They


directly elected have co-responsibility in passing the


laws of the European Union. On those laws, the single market runs and we


have the social protections which are controversial, but nonetheless,


I would argue those protections are important for workers in Britain as


around the urine. What lesson do you take from this? This ridiculous need


to move to and fro illustrates how the European project is beholden to


vested interests. You know, Britain is only a very small minority voice


in these institutions. We've got less than 10% of the votes in the


European Parliament. We have 8% to 12%, depends on how you measure it,


of a say in the Council of ministers decisions. This is why we're


constantly outvoted. We don't have much of a say. We're a minority


voice in the ibs -- institutions. S no the the only organisation that --


it's not the only organisation that wastes money and has these responses


to individual interests. I guess the question is - is it worse than


others? Tara, we come back to you. The United States know what's they


call pork barrel politics, which is you just waste a lot of money


because a senator can be persuaded to vote for a bill if he gets a


bridge in his town. You get many international organisations that are


wasteful, some might say the UN S the European Union is unique in


being an international institution that insists upon making


legislation, insists upon compulsion. It's not just about


cooperation. Is it worse and more wasteful than other large


institutions of the same type? I happen to represent an


organisation which thinks that the UK Government is pretty wasteful,


would like to cut out a lot more of the waste that is inherent in the


system. National Audit Office says the UK Government loses 0.02% of its


annual budget to fraud. For the EU, it is ten times than what it is in


the UK Government. That is one example that I have plucked out. I'm


not going into the... Your group believe the UK is wasting ?100


billion a year? I don't think that is necessarily true. We do think


there is... It is ten times more, ten times more. It is 0.02% compared


to 0.2%. It is atrocious. The error rate in European spending is about


the same as the American federal budget, which is still too high.


Douglas says laws are forced on us. These are laws which are made by


elected ministers and directly-elected politicians. It


wasn't the European Parliament that had the duck house scandal. As for


this idea... Let's focus on that one. People do say that is because


there is less scrutiny and that is a rather good example. The scrutiny


comes from the European Court of Auditors, who have, since 2007,


signed off the accounts, always with qualification and the European


Commission takes action where mistakes have been made, or if there


is evidence of fraud. We have been on the side of getting what we want


in about 85% of legislation. You have been outvoted 72 times. Let's


take that figure, 85%. I thought it was 87%. Do you agree with that


figure that we were outvoted 12-15% of the time? We are easily the most


outvoted country in the EU. Do you buy what Stephen said? 72 times we


have been outvoted. Is it 85% or not? I don't know the answer to


that. The figure has gone up over time. Now, it is 12%. They are not


as politically strong... How can you quibble with the figure if you don't


know what the real figure is? I do know 72 times we have been outvoted.


Germany is outvoted 5% of the times. How often does it never go to a


vote? All because we persuaded other people that our way is the right


way. We are one of the most influenceal players on the EU. Tara,


sometimes we look at the US and think they can't even pass a budget.


You have lived in both. You look at both. Compare and contrast US


effectiveness to EU effectiveness? It is a lot of political bickering


back-and-forth. That is the US. It is all about politics. Here, it is


also about national interests and about politics and it's a lot about


money as well. There are eight political groups and there used to


be, the EPP and the SND, so those two groups used to be the strongest.


They are losing their power, so now it's a coalition. That is their only


way to push through legislation. They have to pre-cook everything.


They have this dinner once a week and they talk about what can we get


through the House because you have Ukip and the Euro-sceptic groups and


you also have the Liberals and the Tories so it is harder for them to


get a majority vote to push things through. So in a way it's become


like Washington in the sense that it's a lot of back-door dealings to


push things through. Is that not an inevitability of a large


organisation, do you buy that? I certainly buy that. Lobbyists love


it. Not sure it is a good thing, though. We have 28 different


countries trying to pull this off. No wonder it takes time. This is a


very ambitious project. But it does work. It does deliver benefits for


everybody involved. If you look at the things the European Union is now


focussed on, completing the single market in services that is an agenda


written in London. Everything that has been done on the environment,


absolutely supported and encouraged and led by successive British


Governments. Amber may correct me, but it looks as if the European


Union is developing an energy policy, building up our independence


from Russia, that is what Britain has been campaigning for. This


idea... I spent five years doing this stuff and we are in there every


single day pushing for our interests. If you make a good


argument and you work the system, then you can represent your national


interest in a really effective way. The UK and German co-author the most


legislation. The UK and German. Does that not suggest we are being rather


influenceal? Let's not take the word of diplomats who have spent their


lives immersing ourselves in the system. We have 10% of the votes in


the European Parliament. We have less than 12% of a share in the


votes of the European Council. We are continually finding key things


imposed on us, despite the fact that we find objectionable. If we vote to


remain, we have to put up with everything that comes our way. Your


campaign rubbishes people who are experts. The example that Stephen


gave, it will be able to deliver us lower prices and more secure energy.


Isn't that what British consumers want? UK energy costs are higher...


No! You are thinking of the climate change regulation, which is very


worrying... I'm not attacking the climate change agenda... The energy


union is a good example... Can I raise another point about the


democratic effectiveness. Amber Rudd, it must worry you, for


whatever money is spent, and however well the British argue their case,


the truth is, people don't really connect, do they, to the EU? The


vote in the European Parliament has diminished every election there's


been since 1979. I don't think most people will be able to name the


European political forces that Tara was talking about, the EPP, these


are completely remote. I suspect if I asked you to explain the


co-determination system for passing legislation... I'm obviously loving


to answer that question(!) If I told you the House of Lords prayed


against an SI one morning, not everybody would follow that. One of


the benefits that will come out of this campaign might be more


information for people who are involved in the EU and need to


understand more about it. I hope perhaps after this, after I hope we


all vote to remain, we can have a stronger involvement in the EU and


more clarity. The European Parliament is directly-elected by


the citizens. It doesn't have a Second Chamber unelected as we have


the House of Lords passing laws. The Commission is the unelected... The


European Commission propose legislation, they don't adopt


legislation. The legislation is adopted by elected ministers... The


only people in the system who can propose legislation, they are people


who were unelected at the ballot box. How can that be right? They are


appointed by governments who are elected. It is like the American


system... I'm sure Charles I would approve! The Americans elect


Presidents... No, they appoint their executive... The one body that


initiates legislation is unaccountable, that could be the


problem. The whole point of this construct was to balance the


interests of large and small, to ensure there was a body that would


look at the interests across-the-board. And to ensure the


small countries weren't bullied by the larger countries. You are right,


as somebody who wants to hold politicians to account, I know


working in Westminster that it is difficult enough to hold people like


Douglas and Amber to account. Nothing personal. Our system is bad


enough. All I'm hearing is, we have things that we need to correct in


our system. That doesn't mean I go and get yet another even more


complicated and more remote system into the equation and give up that


much control that I might or might not have over it. It doesn't make


sense to me. Sometimes I think they are purposefully obscure and opaque


and some of the language that they use is, like, not exactly... It is


difficult to understand. For anyone to understand. Douglas? Look


objectively at how the European project has failed to respond, it's


failed to respond to the economic challenges. It is a failing project


by any objective criteria. Do you think 28 disparate countries with no


Parliament, no Commission and no Council would have responded to


those shocks better than the system we have got at the moment? If you


look at what happened with monetary policy, having the ability to make


your own policy works better. If we want to take back control, that


would be much safer than if we remain part of this failing project.


Are you hoping the whole thing dismantles in the end? Are you


hoping there will be no EU? If I was Austrian or German, I might have a


different perspective. The safe thing to do is to take back control.


This is a failing project and it is failing because of these cumbersome


institutions. Can I come in there? We have talked about the


complexities of keeping all the EU member states together. You cannot -


the single market, we are the largest, most powerful trading bloc


in the world. If you trade... It is crucial to this argument. If you


take us out and we are negotiating that trade on our own, as a single


unit, it will be enormously challenging... We have a couple of


minutes. Essentially, the Remain side does come back to put up with a


lot of the imperfections. But, as ever, let's give the final


word to our undecided panel - some thoughts from you on what


you've been hearing this evening. We have talked about democratic


remoteness and decision-making effectiveness. Any feelings? To make


everything seem a little less complicated, things are coming down


to whether we want to focus our own power within our shores or to


leverage the power we have across Europe. I don't know if that is a


bad thing. Which side are you tipping towards? I'm tipping towards


being able to leverage across the EU. It will influence what happens


in our shores as well as around them. Yes? There is a way to get the


best of both worlds. That is what Lewis was saying. Leverage the power


of the EU, allow legislation to be done centrally but allow autonomy to


customise that for the local regions. We all use mobile phones.


Samsung develops them centrally and we configure them locally. So you


should be able to make legislation, laws, standards centrally within


configuration parameters where each of the 28 states can configure it.


Any others who have heard anything today who started out as a panel


rather cynical about Brussels and what it stood for. Any of you come


out of this discussion feeling more positive about the way Brussels... ?


What I have come to understand is, it is better to be in a stronger


union and be part of a union that can save Europe over a long time and


basically on the economy and try to do it that way rather than exiting


and going into unknown and not knowing what is going on in the


future. We are coming to the end. The mechanics of


the EU in discussion. It's amazing how little most people


understand about it - for the Remain side,


that means we have to get For the Leave side, it simply


tells us why the things But I'm afraid that's


all we have time for tonight. But you may have been wondering how


they reacted in Brussels when they heard that Boris Johnson


was comparing the European Union By pure good fortune,


the exact moment the news broke in the Commission Offices


WAS caught on camera. Hello. Time to get a check on the


weather for the next few days. The morning on Tuesday is not looking


bad at all. Plenty of sunshine there. The cloud will increase and


by the last part of the morning, into the afternoon, we are in for


some rain. So, after a wet start in Northern Ireland, the rain will come


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