• The EU Council of Ministers has just agreed to guarantee the loans of the European Investment Bank's external operations to the tune of €30 billion, Agence Europe reported today (no link). This could cost British taxpayers another billion pounds, according to UKIP MEP John Bufton. "I am amazed that the UK Government would agree to this measure, which means underwriting the European Investment Bank to the tune of €30 billion," Mr Bufton said.
"This could cost the UK an easy £1 billion, which in our economic situation is just madness.
"Given that we have already just given £21 billion to the IMF and have a collossal Foreign Aid budget of £7.7 billion, we must question the Coalition's commitment to protecting the interests of the British taxpayer.
"What we need is trade not aid for foreign countries, otherwise it just encourages dependency and government corruption."
Europolitics reports: "The EU Council approved, on 20 September without debate, an agreement reached with the European Parliament on a decision that extends an EU budgetary guarantee for the European Investment Bank's external operations to cover the remainder of the 2007-2013 financial framework.
"The decision, which replaces the EIB's existing external lending mandate, also introduces some new elements, including the activation of a €2 billion additional mandate dedicated to the financing of projects in the field of climate change and lending for countries not currently covered by the EIB's mandate.
"Moreover, in accordance with the March European Council conclusions, the decision raises the sub-ceiling for Mediterranean countries under the 'neighbourhood and partnership countries' category from €8,700 million to €9,700 million. Parliament is expected to adopt the decision in October in second reading."