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EU politics: sick Transit gloriam

Richard North, 05/11/2012  


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George Osborne, says the Mirror, is under fire for backing an £80million loan to a truck factory in Turkey – which went on to "steal" ­hundreds of British jobs.

The loan is from the European Investment Bank, which as we all know from its dealings with the BBC, is the European Union's bank. As the largest multilateral borrower and lender, its website says, "we provide finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects, mostly in the EU. We are owned by the 27 Member States and the projects we support contribute to furthering EU policy objectives".

So, Mr Osborne, as an ex officio governor of the EIB, presides over an institution which, in pursuit of "furthering EU policy objectives" made a substantial payout to a Turkish firm which, it is believed, played a key part in Ford's decision to shut one of its ­factories here.

The cash was given to the firm that makes the latest Ford Transit vans at its Turkish factory in Kocaeli. Ford announced last month that its factory in Southampton, where the vans are currently built, will now close. Some jobs are also expected to be lost at its Dagenham plant, where parts for the vehicle are produced.

The closure will cause the loss of up to 1,100 jobs, and is the end of Ford producing vehicles in Britain. And with the EU money, partly supplied by the UK, Ford plans to expand ­production of vans in Turkey from around 210,000 a year to 290,000 by 2014.

Such are the benefits of our membership of the EU, about which Mr Cameron is so keen. It is perhaps just as well we are members. Think how badly we would be treated if we didn't have all that "influence" in Brussels.

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