In 2009, the Dutchman Derk Jan Eppink was elected to the European Parliament to represent Flanders. He was already well-acquainted with Europe's institutions, thanks to his previous experience as an assistant in the European Parliament, as a journalist (NRC Handelsblad, De Standaard), and as a member of the cabinet staff of European Commissioners Frits Bolkestein and Siim Kallas. From the perspective of a real insider, Eppink views the major changes currently taking place in Europe and conducts his own enquiry into the mental state of the European elite. Power in Europe is not vested in people, but in a political-bureaucratic complex which functions all by itself. The European ideal is bureaucratised, while the European institutional elite is becoming ever more isolated from the ordinary people they represent. Europe needs a major rethink, says Eppink, an intellectual change of heart. There must be an end to the unlimited expansion of the bureaucracy with its equally unlimited stream of subsidies. The citizens of Europe must force the EU to focus on its core tasks, such as the internal market and the stability of the euro. The taxpayers must take action themselves. For this reason, Eppink is launching the European Citizens' Initiative against the idea of an EU tax and a larger EU budget (www.noeutax.eu). As a liberal equivalent of Karl Marx might have said:'Taxpayers of Europe unite!'
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