The next five years are going to raise fundamental questions about Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Those in power usually look after their own interests better than anyone else’s. The EU is a perfect instance of this universal law: its officials are building themselves a gleaming new office block, complete with gym, restaurants and “majestic entry portal”, at a cost of £350 million: precisely the amount that Britain’s contribution to the EU will have to increase by next year. Britain opposed this payment, but was unable to gather enough EU allies to block it.
This sum represents a 2.8 per cent rise in Britain’s contribution to EU funds. The European Commission wanted an increase of more than twice that amount. And this at a time when every national budget is being squeezed, and when bureaucrats working for governments other than the EU are facing reductions in pay, and even the sack.