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The Warsaw Voice » Society » December 21, 2012
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From the editor
December 21, 2012   
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European Union leaders will soon meet again to discuss the bloc’s budget for 2014-2020. Some will want a reduction, others will want an increase, guided by the expectations of their voters—that they have shaped themselves—and by the logic of the parliamentary game.

Politics runs its course in two modes, that of war and that of theater, and is narrated in these two languages. That’s why there are so many attacks and offensives and so much trench digging, position defending, storming, heroism and machismo. And there are also scenes, behind-the-scenes goings-on, drama and scripts, role playing, gestures, symbols and directing. There are leading and supporting actors, monologues, dialogues and pomposity. We’ve seen plenty of that in the ongoing talks on the European budget, all for the sake of two audiences: domestic and external—European and even global.

I fear that in many European discussions, form dominates over content, and that content is being twisted. A real dispute is going on, but it’s not over what they’re talking about. For instance, it’s not about the EU’s development prospects but about staying in power in your own country.

The EU’s “budget perspective” is a set of many pouches. Ardent supporters of savings claim they are being guided by the crisis and a desire to save money, for example on the ravenous appetite of European bureaucrats. But the proposed amount of cuts puts the very essence of the Community—a leveling out of differences and harmonious development—in grave danger.

Before the next budget negotiations it’s worth reminding the thrifty why their fathers founded the EU. Were they guided by the experience of accounting (no offense to accountants) or the experience of the battlefield?

The European budget is equivalent to more or less two cups of coffee per day per EU citizen. What will those citizens gain if they manage to save on one of these cups?
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