Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville

Monday, December 20, 2004  

How to spend 375,000 Euro

Simple really when you are the Bureau opf the European Parliament and you have a Constitution to sell. Oh and please get this straight that is 375 thou per annum until the Constitution has been sold.

The reason I know this? That´ll be the document in my mits as I type, PE349.476/BUR/REV.
Sadly I only have the French language version of this so you will have to understand that the quotes are my own translations, not necessarily in the original document. That being said my translation will be pretty good.

You might remember that there was a concert last week in Strasbourg. The purpose of that concert was to celebrate the Yes vote on a pice of legislation. However the legislation was postponed, but the concert went ahead to the tune of 50 grand.
Now the legislation is due on the 11/12th January, and again we are all invited to the party in Strasbourg. The money I mention is to celebrate this event, the passing of the Mendez de Vigo/Corbett report on the EU Constitution.

So what to spend the cash on? Here goes...

"Publication of opinion articles, of the type "open letter to the Citizens of Europe", in the main national and regional neewspapers of the European Union. This procedure will be free, just like the letter sent by the President to the Italian press when the Constitutional Treaty was signed obn 29th October 2004"

This has a foot note to the extent that this will be run by DG Information, and will be repeated according to the timings of the referenda in specific countries. Which is pretty self explanitory, they expect to get their message into the op-ed columns of all European newspapers for free. How they get the papers to play ball will be explained.

"Invations to a large number 'plus grandes nombre' of journalists, in collaboration with the (European Parliament's) information offices to ensure maximal coverage of the events"

Please note, this is not expected to be free. Indeed the hundred journalists invited are budgetted to cost the Parliament 100,000 Euros. A hack at a thousand a pop. Bargin at twice the price if it's good for Europe.

Invitations to great thinkers and great writers from countries having referenda (names of those accepting invitations are already attached to the annex)

The original French says this better than I can even satirize. "des grands penseurs ainsi que de grandes plumes". Also interesting is that three have accepted the invites.
Adela Cortina Orts - A Spanish moral Philospoher from Valencia. nteresting she is fulsome in praise of;
Jeremy Rifkin - An all American idiot and author of The European Dream
Alain Minc. Oddly the information provided was lifted word for word from this site (first paragraph).

The good news for these lucky three (the only people to have accepted so far) is that the Bureau has set aside 35,000 for them to be spent over 2 days).But of course Rifkin is not fronma country with a referendum, but he is the favourite American in town so I guessthe 10 + thou spent on him is money well spent.

Then there is going to be a flash dinner - Hey it's the European Parliament, of course there is going to be a flash dinner. This one will have "whispering" interpretation, meaning that the interpreters hover discreetly behind each head pouring sweet nothings into the delegates ears.

Next will be a special 'round table' debate type TV programme, run by Spanish channel TVE-1. This is of course for the benefit of the Spanish President Borrell. The format will be "faux directe" allowing for editing out of unfortunate commentary. This is budgetted at 80,000 Euros.

So far Euronews, ARTE, Pheonix, RTP and the BBC have all asked for interviews.

And there will also be an association with "European Schoolnet", to engage all the kiddies. Go check out the UK aspect of this, wow, so much to rebel against so little time.

The party hats and streamers for this two day bonaza are budgeted at;
Internal decorations/balloons/those coloured pieces of string that you access pass is attached to/posters/books/ etc 45,000 Euros
External, bloody great poster attached to the outside of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg 80,000.

Add all that spend up and you come to the grand total of 340,000 Euros. Which is odd 'cos they initially budgetted and granted themselves 375,000 per annum. So that's an extra 35,000 floating around every year. No I do not know what it is for, and yes I will ask.

(NB - the big external poster looks like it is designed to break French political/eectroal law as it is in direct contravention of a law that bans political advertising. This will have a huge great "YES to the Constitution" (or actually "OUI" on it), all the way through the referendum campaign.

Now I can understand that they want to talk up their constitiution. But that is our money they are using to do it.

posted by Eliab | 4:46 pm
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