Let me propose a subject to be placed on the agenda at once …. a rebate. With Britain’s contribution to the EU budget rising to £6.4 billion, and the country’s finances so parlous that London babies are being buried in paupers’ graves, we have no option but to raise this at EU level
On June 17, David Cameron will travel to Brussels for his first EU summit as prime minister. When the silence falls and the goggling interpreters prepare for the first words to be heard from a Tory prime minister in 13 years, he will be thinking – like all British PMs – of two audiences.
To his new amigos he will want to send out a powerful message that the UK is ready to lead in Europe and to ensure that the EU is a force for good. And to the millions of voters back home he will simultaneously want to signal that he will stick up for this country’s interests and that he will not allow us to be ripped off by our friends and partners in Brussels.
And that is where we are now – with other European countries wondering how to throw Greece a lifeline without being pulled under
“It was late last night and I was rifling through the sock drawers for euros to fund the annual half-term skiing. There were all sorts of useless coins – Uzbek som, Iraqi dinars, 2d bits – and there it was, like a sudden Proustian blast from our childhood. It was a 50-drachma piece, with Homer on one side and a boat on the other. It was dull and scuffed and technically as worthless as all the other coins in my hoard. But as I turned it over in my hand it seemed to glow like a pirate’s doubloon, radioactive with political meaning. This coin was more than just a memento of beach holidays when 50 drachmas was five ice creams. This was the history of Greece in the palm of my hand. When Socrates asked Crito to buy a cock and kill it for Asclepius; when Sappho bought her Lesbian girlfriend a Lydian hat; when his listeners rewarded old, blind Homer for chanting by the fire – how did they all pay?
“They paid in drachmas, a currency that served the people of Greece for at least 3,100 years, until they junked it for the euro. And the object I had in my hand, therefore, was a symbol of the economic freedom the Greeks gave away for the sake of national prestige. Continue reading The Greek Economy→
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