There are days when I wake up with no plans for how I’m going to capture my photo of the day. Today was one of those days. I’ve also taken to running with a camera in hand, in case photo opportunities come along. Today was also one of those days. Finally, I’ve always found that running allows my mind to wander and today it sort of went mad (in more ways than one!)
I’ve been staying on and off at a particular hotel in a small village close to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport for over 10 years now and I’ve seen the development of some very impressive local facilities. This morning I went for a run before going to work and the remainder of this blog started forming in my mind as I ran, looked and took photos.
This is a brand new sports hall complex that I have yet to see being used
At the other end of the village is this water sports and gym complex. When it was being built many years ago, I seem to remember a sign outside the site declaring it was part-funded by EU money. After its completion, the complex remained closed for at least 3 years; finally opening earlier this year, the facilities are impressive.
The village has a very nice, architecturally impressive church:
And there a number of very impressive farmhouses set within spacious and well provisioned courtyards – this is just one of them:
Did I mention the size of this village? The latest figures I could find lists the total population as 685 – yes that’s correct, all these fantastic facilities serve just 685 people. How can they possibly afford it? Look again at the foreground of the first 2 photos and what do you see? Food! It grows in abundance in this incredibly fertile ground
and despite having an International Airport on its doorstep, this village is surrounded by acres and acres of farmland. Furthermore, shortly after getting airborne today, I took this photo:
As far as the eye could see, the land was under cultivation for food. Of all the EU countries France has by far the largest area of land under cultivation; around 17%. Guess what the EU spends most money on? Food subsidies. The EU common agricultural food subsidy policy accounts for 42% of the entire EU budget; that’s almost 60 billion euros a year propping up inflated food prices for the benefit of 5.4% of the EU’s population (that’s the percentage of the EU population that are involved in farming – in Greece and Spain it is higher, in the UK and Holland much lower). France takes by far the largest slice of this money; over 10 billion euros a year. The biggest winners are the large agricultural estates (Royal estates in UK and old Aristocratic ones in France, for example). 80% of all the EU money goes to just 25% of farms. The French farm subsidy alone is three times the entire GDP of the country of Malawi, in Africa. Why pick Malawi as an example? My daughter was there last year on a volunteer program. Orphaned children that she was trying to help existed almost solely on a diet of porridge. The porridge was supposed to be fortified with sugar for energy; some days there was no supply of sugar. What is one of the top 10 food products subsidised by the EU? Sugar!
Am I being emotive? – yes
Am I being selective in the figures I’ve presented? – yes
Is there a counter argument? – yes (the EU spends almost the equivalent of it’s farm subsidies on importing more food stuff from developing countries than the USA Canada Japan Australia and New Zealand combined, for example)
In general terms do I have a valid point to make? – abso-bloody-lutely!
As a final aside in the general tone of today’s blog, here is a photo of the newest building in this French village
I believe it’s a detention centre for illegal immigrants arriving from the more disadvantaged countries of the world. They were probably farmers back in their old countries; can’t imagine why they’d want to come to France!!