Es muy conocido el método de gobierno de Tony Blair. El año pasado Carsten Volkery desde Berlín ejemplificaba magníficamente la metodología del Primer Ministro Británico con relación a las reformas que debe hacer en su propio país para aprobar el presupuesto de la Unión Europea. En un artículo titulado 'Los británicos sacan conejos del sombrero con las demandas de reformas planteadas por la Unión Europea' Volkery expresaba que el Primer Ministro se prevalecía de la existencia de subsidios agrícolas en la UE para hacer rebajas de su contribución al presupuesto de la Unión. Planteaba Blair como alternativa a los subsidios el financiamiento en investigación. Los alemanes, comentando esta propuesta, señalaban en la ocasión la existencia de un 7% del total del presupuesto dedicado a investigación. En 15 meses desde que se discuten los subsidios agrícolas, que por lo demás han bajado sustancialmente, nunca el gobierno de Blair tocó el tema hasta que llegó el momento de pagar la factura comunitaria. Nótese que en 1988 los subsidios alcanzaban a alrededor de 70%, porcentaje que hoy en día es de 45%.
A continuación el texto de Volkery
Whatever you think of Blair, you have to admit that he is pretty good at getting himself out there. Currently it is his stance on reforming the EU budget which is raising hackles -- especially in Germany, where a government paper has revealed that Gerhard Schroeder's government is anything but happy with Blair's newfound reformist stance.
The German government has defended current European Union agricultural policies against criticisms from British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 'Britain is currently flogging the myth that an allegedly money-wasting common agricultural policy is the central hurdle to a reduction of the British rebate,' an internal government working paper obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE on Thursday states. 'Those are arguments from the 1980s.'
There have been a great deal of fundamental changes since 1984, the government argues, when then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher fought for the rebate. Britain, for example, is no longer a poor nation, but rather the EU's fourth wealthiest. In addition, since 1992 Europe's agricultural policy has undergone a 'shift in direction.'
During his European Parliament speech on Thursday, in which he laid out his vision of the British EU presidency, which begins next Friday, Blair reiterated his criticism of the common agricultural policy and called for the EU to reform it. Blair argued the EU budget had to be overhauled for the future and demanded that more money be invested in education and research. In order to do so, he argued, agricultural subsidies, which currently make up 45 percent of the budget, should be reduced.
However, the position paper from the German government claims that Blair's suggestion 'isn't well thought out.' It notes that in the budget which was rejected by Britain, the European Commission would have earmarked 7 percent for research -- an amount that exceeds the average of EU member states. 'Those who demand more,' says the paper, 'are overlooking the fact there is a dearth of sensible projects available that would warrant such a massive shifting [of finances].'
The federal government also fundamentally questioned Blair's role as a reformer. During past reforms of the EU agricultural market, Britain 'was never the decisive actor.' Much of the progress 'was only possible because through the tight German-French relationship, we were able to convice the French to adopt a modern agricultural policy.'
The paper lists the most important of those successes. Prices for most products within the EU have again dropped to the international market level, and work is still being conducted to bring milk and sugar prices down. And production incentives that in the past led to butter mountains and lakes of wine have been abolished. Most importantly, the percentage of the EU budget that goes to agricultural subsidies has steadily dropped from its highest level of 70 percent in 1988 to 45 percent today. The reasons that would have supported a British rebate have long since disappeared.
The government, the working paper states, 'won't rule out' further reforms. Nevertheless, the British have made no proposals for agricultural reforms during the past 15 months. They didn't present any proposals during EU constitutional convention or at the intergovernmental conference that followed it. Now they've come up with their arguments for reform like a 'magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.' Anyone who negotiates in this manner, it continues, 'doesn't want an agreement, and is instead looking for a pretense for failure.'