By Jason Moore

WHAT was the point of the mini-Defence summit held in Palma this week which ended with no overall accord and a major bill for the Spanish tax-payer for entertainment and security for the visiting European Union ministers? Four hundred elite police officers were charged with providing security; one taxi driver observed the other day that it was the first time in months that he had actually seen a police officer!

At a time when Spain has four million unemployed and the economy is still battling with recession surely the money spent on the summit could have been earmarked for other more deserving causes. It was an informal meeting which basically means that it doesn´t matter if there is an accord or not so why bother. Ok, Spain wanted to get out the red carpet and show what a wonderful place these islands are, but surely the Spanish government should be trying to save money rather than spend it. One of the biggest problems with the European Union is the public perception that it is an elite club which spends too much money on unnecessary policy and events. There was plenty of evidence of this in Palma this week. No, the Spanish government can´t tell us to save our money for a rainy day when they are spending it heavily on useless meetings.

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