East of England MEP gives her view on why many feel that the EU is out of touch

EAST of England MEP, Vicky Ford, gives an account of her visit to France yesterday as she voted unsuccessfully for a freeze in the EU budget.

Yesterday in Strasbourg, I (and my Conservative colleagues) voted for a freeze in the EU budget because it is unacceptable for EU institutions to keep spending more taxpayers� money when national governments are having to rein back spending at home.

We voted to reduce the expenses of MEPs and to reduce the costs of Parliament.

We also voted against increasing maternity pay to 20 weeks because I believe that this sort of decision should be taken by national governments not international parliaments (especially given the dire economic times).

Sadly colleagues from other countries and other groups did not agree. The Parliament voted to increase the EU budget by 5.9 per cent (�843million gross contribution for the UK).

The vote on maternity leave was lost by just seven votes (327 to 320)- this is predicted to add costs of �2.5 billion a year to UK businesses and government.

These are not yet final decisions as national governments will now get their say. Lets hope some sense prevails.

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A small ray of light was that MEPs did agree to at least review the pension arrangements of EU employees but even that is going to take a while.

Is it any wonder that members of the public feel the EU is increasingly out of touch?

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