EU FISCAL CRISIS: Is the workers’ aid fund incompetently managed – or a symptom of Brussels politics?

“Oooo….cheeky monkey”

Belgium 0 Portugal 0

There were many raised eyebrows this morning in Belgium when the FT broke a story about the much-vaunted ‘workers’ aid’ fund administered by the EU to help those left behind or dumped in several metres of mire by its bonkers econo-fiscal policies.

The FT’s view (as expressed by Stanley Pignal) was expressed as follows:

‘Plagued by poor design and sclerotic bureaucracy, only €140m ($182m) of the nearly €2bn that could have been spent by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) since its inception in 2007 has been disbursed….national authorities that have tried to tap the fund on behalf of redundant workers say it is impossible to get any money in a timely way.”

But this isn’t how The Slog’s EU Commission mole sees it. Euromole informs us that the Union’s flagship fund to help workers dismissed as a result of the recession is stuck in the deep mud of Commission trench warfare.

“The trouble is,” our source confides, “it was (Jose Manuel) Barroso’s idea – and the Portuguese leader is not well liked among the Rompuy-Pompuys. Therefore it must be seen to fail”.

Few people outside Belgium in general and the Commission in particular know precisely what a pernicious megalomaniac Herman Van Rompuy is. It might help, however, if I were to relate to you the well-known story of HVR being asked at the age of eight what he wanted to be. “King of the world,” the small boy replied. As the FT’s super-blogger Gideon Rachman noted in March:

‘There is a ludicrous jostling going on between José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, the first appointee to the new post of president of the European Council. In theory, the two men work closely together. In practice, they are shaping up as bitter rivals….do these guys have any idea how ridiculous this makes them look? I suspect they probably do – they just can’t help themselves…’

Setting aside how silly the two of them might or might not look, it says a great deal about the obscenely twisted values of the EU that one of the few potentially useful expenditures emerging from that diabolical Union is being sacrificed on the altar of a power struggle between an obese Porto and a chilly Belgian.