A special Eurobarometer survey on humanitarian aid reveals a high level of solidarity among EU citizens with victims of conflict and natural disasters outside the Union. Eight out of ten citizens (79%) think it is important that the EU funds humanitarian aid outside its borders. However, the financial and economic crisis has taken its toll as the approval rate dropped 9% from 88% in 2006 when the last survey was carried out. There is a clear link between this decrease and the individual financial situation of citizens, those who have problems paying their bills expressed less support. An overall majority of EU citizens (58%), and a relative majority in all Member States, think that humanitarian aid is more efficient when provided by the EU through the European Commission. Around one quarter (24%) prefers relief funds to be channelled through Member States.
In politics it is August rather than January when people look back at the last year and take stock of what has or has not been achieved. Hence, as I have been soaking up the Spanish sun, my mind has been replaying events from the last twelve months.
It is like campaigning in Helmand province or other parts of Afghanistan with a heavy Taliban presence. There is still a considerable groundswell of traditionalist support for fundamentalist media ?madrassa teachers? and insurgent political ?warlords?, despite the efforts to win the hearts and minds of the population since deployment in membership conditions since 1973. Successive national governments have been unwilling or unable to make a convincing enough case for more constructive engagement.
The death toll in flooding in central Europe has risen to 10 as official confirmation came of two more fatalities in south western Poland on Sunday.
Today’s FT Deutschland splash reveals that EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski will in September table different options for introducing an EU tax to fund the bloc’s budget. Apparently, Mr. Lewandowski believes that the current drive in Europe to cut spending is making governments more receptive to the idea of a single tax.
EU Commissioner Lewandowski hasn’t exactly hit a home run with his comments about the Commission’s forthcoming proposals for an EU tax.
The idea was outright rejected by the German government, which pointed out that its coalition agreement stated: ?We reject an EU-tax or the involvement of the EU in national tax and duty collection.? A spokesperson from the German ministry of finance told today?s FTD that ?Nothing has changed in this stance.?