|Some useful info for a time when you may be debating a neocon...
WHO'S A SUBSIDY JUNKIE THEN??
The EU subsidises its farmers to the tune of $62 billion per year, the Japanese $31 billion and the United States around $19 billion. A couple of years back some estimates said that the figures were artificially low and that total western farm subsidies were $350 billion. This is more than the GNP from all sub-Saharan Africa.
The nations of the EU as a combined total of bilateral aid from their own individual initiatives and EU aid transfer just 0.51 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to developing countries per annum. This is done under Official Development Assistance programmes and bilateral programmes between individual nations from within the EU and in bilateral programmes between the EU and other developing nations. This is to be contrasted with a figure of 0.32 percent for Japan and 0.18 percent for the United States.
It is also worth noting that it is not purely from humanitarian feelings or needs that this aid is given, the EU recoups $48 of every $100 given in aid through purchases of goods and services from EU members
Food aid is also not entirely a goodwill gesture. It is mainly a product of Common agricultural policy overproduction.
The world's major industrial nations have in fact increased their level of protectionism in recent years by more than 20% according to the United Nations (UN). Even the director of development policy at the WB, Ian Goldin "Poor people cannot escape their level of poverty because of subsidies in the developed world"
In the late 80's and early 90's aid to Eastern Europe rose from 4% to 32.6% of the total budget. For the poorest countries it fell from 68.7% to 43.6%. This was mainly in order to stop an influx of refugees from the East coming into the EU.
The EU is a money trap and politicians LIKE it, nevertheless, there are votes to be won by pretending to defy the EU - this happens in all the EU countries. Politicians will make deals together and then return home and abuse the EU.
Around 60 firms of US and Japanese parentage have set up inside the EU to avoid the difficulties of trading with the EU from outside its confines.
Also, the public are grossly misinformed about the EU as a whole - sometimes deliberately so. In the 1990s a reservoir of jingoistic bile that hadn't been tapped in years was unleashed when the EU apparently tried to enforce a regulation that would only allow the sale of straight bananas. This simply wasn't true. There is no level of bureaucratic nitpicking that would come up with such a policy - there is absolutely no reason for such a policy. The fact of the matter was that the EU wished to buy more of its bananas from the former colonies of the UK and France in the Caribbean. This was to fend off a possible upsurge in unemployment in these areas. The Caribbean bananas are slightly different in size to the Latin American bananas that were being replaced and the anti-EU sections of the media took this story and came up with the 'straight banana theory' as a means of discrediting the EU. And it worked. Most people believed it.