As we plod along to an election that will decide which faction of mediocrities will dispose of the thirty percent of policy-making that has not yet been surrendered to the EU, a couple of timely reminders of how the other seventy percent is decided.
In the FT, Paris correspondent Ben Hall comments, "Concern about Berlin's self-interest has spread well beyond Paris to other capitals, particularly since the Greek debt crisis began. But it is France that is fretting the most, because for half a century it has used its special relationship with Germany to multiply its own influence in Europe and beyond. That is no longer the case. German selfishness exposes French selfishness."
Since when is defending the national interest 'selfishness'?
The Telegraph reports that figures published in yesterday's UK budget show that the UK's contributions to the EU have increased from last year's estimates. Last year's budget estimated the UK's contributions at £5.6billion for this year, but that has been increased to £6.4 billion this year and will rise to an estimated £7.6 billion in 2010/11. The £6.4 billion cost this year is more than twice the £3.1billion contributed last year. The increase follows Tony Blair's agreement to a reduction in Britain's annual rebate in 2005, in exchange for a 'health check' of the Common Agricultural Policy.
And he didn't even get to be president of the EU in exchange for selling out the national interest.