The BBC reports that the net cost of the UK's EU membership will rise by 60 percent to £6.4bn - equivalent to about £260 per UK household - from £4.1bn in 2009/10. On his Telegraph blog Dan Hannan hat-tips Open Europe for the story and argues, "why should we look at the net rather than the gross contribution? In what other field of politics do we do so? Does anyone argue that income tax, rather than being 22 per cent, is in fact zero, because the whole sum is 'given back' in roads, schools and hospitals? What matters is what we hand over."
Hannan adds that, with the UK's gross EU budget contribution, Philip Hammond, the Shadow Chief Secretary, "could cut council tax by 45 percent; he could build 50 new hospitals every year; he could take nearly 4 pence off income tax; or he could pay off our Olympic debt in just one year."
On the BBC Today Programme Conservative MP John Redwood described the increase in the UK's budget contribution as "money we can't afford being very badly spent". Similarly to Hannan, he added that "I don't think it's right just to concentrate on the £6.4bn net cost...the money we don't get back. We also need to look at all the money we do get back which is often spent in ways that we wouldn't choose to spend it."
Sun columnist Fergus Shanahan criticises David Cameron's policy on Europe, claiming he is refusing to address the issue as it divides his party and risks losing a significant amount of votes to UKIP. He concludes that Cameron "can't fudge much longer when we see how we are being robbed by Brussels and getting nothing in return."
Irish Finance Minister delays vote on bad bank in order not to "disrupt" Lisbon debate
Bloomberg reports that Ireland's Finance Minister Brian Lenihan signalled the Irish parliament won't vote on proposed 'bad bank' regulations until October, saying he doesn't want to "disrupt" the second Lisbon Treaty referendum. He told RTE radio that "I certainly don't want NAMA to disrupt the Lisbon debate." Lenihan is creating the National Asset Management Agency to cleanse Ireland's banks of 'toxic assets' after the country's decade-long property boom ended.
Meanwhile, in the National Interest, Doug Bandow looks at Ireland's upcoming referendum and notes that the "German Constitutional Court recently voted to uphold the Lisbon Treaty only if the German parliament approved legislation ensuring the latter's continuing role in making decisions on core national issues". He quotes Open Europe, saying, "British MPs need to wake up-and demand the same power" and notes that similar rumblings have been heard in France and the Netherlands.
Bandow adds that European governments "are badly divided over everything from economic stimulus to financial regulation". He notes that a recent Open Europe poll found that 70 percent of Germans, with the largest economy on the Continent, oppose bailing out other nations.
Commission to present controversial asylum proposals in September
EUobserver reports that EU justice and home affairs ministers are finalising fresh proposals on EU immigration policy, including a potentially controversial system of re-distributing refugees and asylum seekers among the 27 member states to lighten the workload of border countries.
Both the re-location policy, which could see the transfer of asylum seekers from one EU state to another, and asylum policy proposals, which could set quotas on the number of refugees for member states, are to be presented by the Commission in September, Swedish Immigration Minister Tobias Billstroem said. The application of the proposed policies would be voluntary, the Swedish minister added.