Proving the propensity for was wasting taxpayer money is endless, Brussels decrees holidays are a human right.

AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year’s hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.

The idea for the subsidised tours is the brainchild of Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, who was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.

The scheme, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds a year, is intended to promote a sense of pride in European culture, bridge the north-south divide in the continent and prop up resorts in their off-season.

Tajani’s programme will be piloted until 2013 and then put into full operation. It will be open to pensioners and anyone over 65, young people between 18 and 25, families facing “difficult social, financial or personal” circumstances and disabled people. The disabled and the elderly can be accompanied by one person.

In the initial phase, northern Europeans will be encouraged to visit southern Europe and vice versa. Details of how participants are chosen have not yet been finalised, but it is expected the EU will subsidise about 30% of the cost.

Tajani, who unveiled his plan last week at a ministerial conference in Madrid, believes the days when holidays were a luxury have gone. “Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life,” he said.

Tajani’s spokesman said: “Why should someone from the Mediterranean not be able to travel to Edinburgh in summer for a breath of cool, fresh air; why should someone from Edinburgh not be able to travel to Greece in winter?”

Human rights take a trip to la-la land

Tasha Kheiriddin, writing for the National Post says Human rights take a trip to la-la land

This announcement makes a complete mockery of the term “human rights”, which is already so abused as to have completely lost its meaning. The modern concept of “human rights” has become code for “wealth transfer”. Since 1948 bureaucrats from the UN to the EU have seen fit to accord humanity rights to standards of living, social security, free elementary education, leisure time, and now EasyJet junkets to Spain.

But let’s not be fooled: this latest “human right” is nothing more a thinly disguised subsidy for the European tourism industry. Which makes the use of the term even more pathetic, as it has nothing to do with rights, and everything to do with filling empty Alpine resorts in the off-season.

Let’s just hope our politicians on this side of the pond don’t decide to grant us the same rights, to promote Arctic ecotours or shore up festivals in rural Quebec. But then, we’re talking about the government who gave us the home renovation tax credit – can the tourism tax credit be far behind? I can hear Air Canada starting its lobbying engines now…

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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