MP calls for reduction in the number of EU Commissioners
4th February 2013
Speaking in a Parliamentary debate about the number of EU Commissioners Geoffrey Clifton-Brown questions the need for so many Commissioners and whether a small country such as Luxembourg should have equal representation as a large country such as the UK.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: I congratulate my hon. Friend’s Committee on bringing this matter before the House. Clause 2 of the Bill contains an important provision. How can it be right that a small country such as Luxembourg has equal representation on the Commission with a complex country such as ourselves? That surely makes no sense whatever. Furthermore, the clause seems to indicate that however many countries join the EU, they will each get a commissioner, so we could end up with 30 or more commissioners. How can that make sense?
Mr Cash: It is difficult to make sense of a lot of things that come out of the European Union, and I am reminded of what Alice said in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” about believing half a dozen impossible things before breakfast every day. That is possibly one example.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: I praise my hon. Friend for his work in establishing the budget of this new organisation. Since the Council of Europe gives the European taxpayer such good value for money in having its budget reduced each year, instead of having a new agency, why not give all its functions to the Council of Europe? In that way, we could reduce the European budget.
Mr Chope: I think that is a brilliant idea, and for a long time I thought that was the policy supported by the Government. It is certainly supported by almost every member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, including many from core European Union states who regard themselves as being Europhiles in the extreme, but even they ask what the point is of duplicating the functions of the Council of Europe with those of the Fundamental Rights Agency. I hope my hon. Friend will take that idea forward.