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Why the ESF will survive 20 December 2010

Posted by cooperatoby in EU.

On 3rd November 2010, Lord Liddle – Roger Liddle who was Tony Blair’s Adviser on Europe and subsequently a BEPA member – gave his views on the ESF:

“That brings me to the future of the Social Fund. I am a strong supporter of the existence of the structural funds and I do not agree with the view that HM Treasury had under the previous Government that we ought to try to get rid of them. I remember getting quite upset about that when the proposition was initially put forward. Just as I was about to send off some intemperate memo to the Prime Minister to say how wrong I thought that was, one wise official told me, “Oh, don’t worry, Roger, let them go and argue it. They’ll get nowhere because the Germans will never agree to it”. The Treasury thought that it had found some friend in the German finance ministry who thought that the structural funds should not be applied to the richer member states. Then they came up against the reality of German politics-remember that Mrs Merkel represents a constituency in the former East Germany, where these funds are important in demonstrating to the German taxpayer that they are getting some value from their contribution to the EU. I doubt that there is much real prospect of getting rid of the structural funds, but I would like to hear that from the Minister.

“I would also like to hear a recognition from the Government that there is a real UK national interest in supporting the structural funds, in particular the Social Fund. That national interest is that we very strongly want to see a better functioning single market in Europe. However, the only way that we will win political consent for that objective is if there are accompanying social policies that deal with the problems of winners and losers in that enhanced single market.”


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