The Town Clerk of Penarth has revealed that in view of “Leave” vote in the EU Referendum, Penarth Town Council cannot now apply for funding from the controversial so-called “Europe for Citizens” E.U. town-twinning programme.
The contentious and heavily criticised scheme had yet to be considered by members of Penarth Town Council’s Town Twinning Committee – but it has already been castigated by critics (including the European Parliament itself ) as yet another example of the European Commission’s coming up with useless ways of wasting taxpayer’s money .
The scheme’s declared priorities for 2016 are:-
- “Understanding and Debating Euroscepticism”
- “Solidarity in times of crisis”
- “Combatting stigmatisation of ‘immigrants’ and building counter-narratives to foster intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding”
- “Debate on the future of Europe”
The European Parliament had hit out at the un-elected E U Commission’s “Europe for Citizens” scheme saying that what it called “the one-dimensional , and overly-instrumental idea of what active citizenship and citizens’ involvement stands for, gives reason for concern.”
The EU Parliament went on to tell the EU Commissioners – in typical European gobbledygook:- “Such an idea is manifest in the tailoring of the entire Europe for Citizens programme towards EU policies and especially the policy-making process. Thereby the EU exposes itself to possible criticism that after all, Europe for Citizens was not meant to promote a rich and diverse culture of active citizenship, but designed as a mere means for the self-staging of the EU institutions”
If it had gone ahead to apply for the EU funding, Penarth could have received grants of :-
- €25 000 to “bring together citizens from twinned towns to debate issues from the European political agenda”
- Between €10 000 and €150 000 “to cooperate with other towns on a long‑term basis to explore particular topics or themes, share resources or interests, gain influence or face common challenges.”
- €150 000 for “civil society s project” which were supposed to “give citizens an opportunity to participate concretely in the EU policy-making process. “
The total amount of grants Penarth might have applied for could have been worth up to £250,000 – all paid for by UK taxpayers but laundered through Europe before being paid back to Britain.
In a report to councillors, Penarth’s Town Clerk says “Further to the recent outcome of the European Referendum, Penarth Town Council would not be able to apply for this programme and the associated funding stream “
Back in 1966 Penarth had established a twin town link with the Brittany town of St Pol-de-Leon – but St Pol no longer replies to correspondence from Penarth Town Council and doesn’t even send a Christmas card.
In 2015 twin-town overtures were made to Dojran in Macedonia but these were withdrawn when it became clear the town was a main border crossing point into Greece for would-be immigrants trying to get into Europe.
Notwithstanding Penarth’s links with radio pioneer Marconi , the Italian town of Sasso Marconi in Bologna, Italy said it wasn’t interested in twinning with Penarth and a “hand of friendship” extended to Pagegiai in Lithuania has come to nothing.
It’s now been revealed that Penarth Town Council officials – apparently without any debate in the council chamber or any agreement by the full council – had also written to four Eastern European towns: – Cumpana in Romania, Salaspils and Plavinas in Latvia and Svishtow in Bulgaria asking them if they would like to be involved with Penarth in the – now abortive – E U “Citizens for Europe Programme”.
Three of the towns – Sovvisht, Plavinas and Cumpana – had sent back “positive responses”.
As the UK has now voted to Leave the European Union. the Town Clerk has suggested to councillors that “links could potentially still be pursued on a more informal basis “.