Blair calls himself 'passionate European' in Bild
22 June 2005, HAMBURG - In an article in Wednesday's Bild, Germany's biggest-selling newspaper, British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered a compromise on E.U. funding, but demanded changes in subsidies to agriculture.
22 June 2005
HAMBURG - In an article in Wednesday's Bild, Germany's biggest-selling newspaper, British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered a compromise on E.U. funding, but demanded changes in subsidies to agriculture.
"We don't want a budget that continues to devote seven times as much to agriculture as it does to research and development, science, technology, education and innovation combined," he wrote, calling himself a "passionate European".
"Forty per cent of the spending is going into the agriculture policy, whereas less than 5 per cent of the population works there. This budget is neither appropriate to the needs of citizens nor to the challenges facing Europe," the text as published in German said.
Bild printed the article on page 2, and ran an account of E.U. 'waste' as its main front-page story Wednesday, with a list of "how E.U. bureaucrats waste our money", ranging from EUR 916 million for "cigarettes that most won't buy" to a EUR 15,000 sauna for horses.
Blair said Britain was prepared to "pay more, but only if the money goes to poor countries, not rich ones, and only if it is spent on the right policies".
He rejected criticism by other European leaders that he wanted to reduce the E.U. to a free trade zone.
"The E.U. is a lot more than a free trade zone. The people want work. They want a continuation of European values and they want a strong Europe," he wrote.
Subject: German news