Cook Computing

WiFi and EU Money

June 13, 2005 Written by Charles Cook

Bagel Belly Blog mentions rumours of a project to provide Norwich with open-access wifi. All well and good for the people of Norwich but the term "EU money" raised a few of my hackles particularly in light of the current debate over the UK rebate to the EU which has been whipped up by Chirac and Schroeder to divert attention from problems within their own countries. There is no such thing as "EU money". The EU does not generate any wealth. It simply takes money raised by taxation within the member states. It does however give return some of the money in ways which are designed to increase public approval of the "project" and to increase regional dependency on the EU. I fail to see why projects such as free wifi should be funded by anyone other than the people who are going to benefit from it. On a larger scale I also fail to see why taxpayers throughout Europe should fund inefficient French farmers and whatever it is that the Spanish are being funded for (look at this BBC page, its hardly surprising that the Spanish voted for the EU constitution). If the UK has become a more wealthy country since the rebate was agreed, because we don't have a French or German style "social model" economy, that is hardly grounds for arguing that we should subsidise their inefficient economies which they refuse to reform. (I'm not necessarily saying that the "social model" is undesirable - in fact it can produce a better lifestyle in general for as long as it can be funded - but that its hypocritical to expect countries with more efficient and prosperous economies to sustain it).