Does Money Grow on Trees?

Richard Graham

European Parliamentary Candidate on Conservative Party list

29 April 2004

The title was chosen to provide a study of the funding of the EU. Ten new countries were joining the Union on 1 May and many of these would be eligible for regional aid. Would this divert funds from existing British recipients, some of which were in the South West?

Mr Graham gave a wide-ranging survey of all aspects of the EU finances. Discussion followed, with customary critic-ism of the Common Agricultural Policy. Changes are likely to be made to this policy but will not be concluded until 2012.

The meeting moved on to the recently announced intention to have a referendum on the proposed constitution. There were different views on whether this would be a treaty or not, from which we could withdraw.

On migration, Mr Graham looked particularly at London and noted that some 750,000 Frenchmen were in London and the South East; were they ‘immigrants’ or ‘ex-pats’? He considered London to be the financial heart of Europe.

Summing up and describing his objective if elected, his aim was to see the EU ‘doing less and doing it better’.

There was general agreement that it had been a very worthwhile evening despite the usual wide range of opinions on the subject.

Rodney Tye