Monday, April 19, 2010

Tourism now a “human right” in Europe?

I thought the European Union pretty much made itself the laughingstock of the world when, 10 or so years ago, they came out with regulations banning the importation and sale of bananas with, as I recall the term, “excessive curvature”.  I expect the petty Euro-bureaucrats found them too hard to peel.

But they have now set a new standard for collective insanity that I certainly hope will be hard to surpass.

Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, has stated, "Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life". Not content with simply making tourism a “right”, Mr. Tajani goes on to present a plan that “would see taxpayers footing some of the vacation bill for seniors, youths between the ages of 18 and 25, disabled people, and families facing "difficult social, financial or personal" circumstances.”

Under a pilot program slated to continue until 2013, “The EU and its taxpayers are slated to fund 30% of the cost of these tours, which could range from youth exploring abandoned factories and power plants in Manchester to retirees taking discount trips to Madrid, all in the name of cultural appreciation.”

It probably goes without saying that Mr. Tajani was appointed to his post by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Perhaps the EU should send them both to an abandoned Manchester factory. One-way ticket only.

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