Tuesday, January 24, 2006

News from the Front

The thrilling news winging its way out of Brussels to sit throbbing on our computer screens, ready to inform and inspire the debate of the masses is that EU finance ministers are "deadlocked" and are now taking a temporary break while they regroup their forces.

So we are informed by AP and we sit on the edge of our seats, noses glued to the screen for the latest developments on the unfolding drama…

Will France succeed in its plan to extend short-term lower rates for hairdressers and home repairs beyond 2005, and will it get its way on lower restaurant tax rates?

On the Eastern Front, will the Accession countries succeed in their push for a tax holiday and will Germany continue to insist on keeping the lid of Pandora's box slammed shut, blocking any new VAT exemptions?

Meanwhile our reporter from the Western Front tells us that the climactic meeting between the two Great Powers, France and Germany, in Versailles failed to reach a conclusion when chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her opposition to Chirac’s plea for the lower restaurant tax.

A stiff-lipped and resolute Chirac, however, remained hopeful, telling the throng of reporters: "Our goal is to obtain a lowered VAT. And we will do everything to get there." "Ils ne passeront pas," he was heard to say as he climbed into his armoured car and headed for the trenches.

Jeeze!!! As our American friends are sometimes heard to say. Are we supposed to take this stuff seriously? Is this really what the great European project has come down to – the finance ministers of 25 nations bickering and haggling over tax rates for bloody hairdressers and restaurants?


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