EU – Quangos

This chapter will look into the various EU quangos either fully or semi controlled by the EU.

There are quite a few, so watch this space.


Official Name: GSA

Budget: 30mill 20177 however financial resources are 2290 mill

Personnel: 1167

This is a EU funded GPS system initially designed for civil purposes but it was later agreed5 to include military purposes.

GPS is crucial for monitoring and assisting troop movements; and for autonomous and automated guided weapons systems.

There are several issues with the functioning of Galileo and the US and NATO supported system2+3 both technical and political.

The civil part of the system is utilised in cooperation with Canada6 and China4.

Until recently it is estimated the UK has paid £1bn into this project8.

Questions to be asked:
  1. Does the inclusion of the military use indicate EU want it’s own army independent of NATO?
  2. If China and Canada are partners and Canada and Switzerland are on the council; why are the UK then being excluded due to Brexit?
  3. Why does the UK need access to Galileo when the UK can use the US based GPS as part of NATO?
  4. Should the EU not return the 1bn to the UK when the UK has no part in the asset being created?


Benefiting from its central position in the European security architecture, Europol offers a unique range of services9:

  • support for law enforcement operations on the ground
  • a hub for information on criminal activities
  • a centre of law enforcement expertise

So this is mainly a coordinating organisation for the police in the EU except Denmark, which is excluded from Europol.

Europol cannot directly engage in policing or arrest anybody.

Europol is governed by the European parliament as opposed to Interpol that has a lack of governance10+11.

Drawback is however Europol can only operate inside the EU using the EU arrest warrant.

Interpol has been used for political purposes due to the lack of oversight11.

Yet to come

Silly Quangos (staff employed 2018)

These ones are not important but shows the excess in the EU.

Community Plant Variety Office (45)

Protecting new plant varieties throughout the EU helps uphold breeders’ interests and ensures that their investments in research and innovation are profitable.

European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (137)

The agency manages the 3 main IT systems dealing with visas, asylum requests and sharing information to guarantee the security of the Schengen Area.

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (98)

At the crossroads between education systems and the world of work, Cedefop operates as a forum, allowing the organisations with a stake in its work to share ideas and debate how best to improve vocational education and training in Europe. It shares its expertise with political organisations and the 2 sides of industry in the EU countries to help them generate learning and working opportunities.

European Institute for Gender Equality (50)

EU agency working to make gender equality a reality in the EU and beyond. For this, it provides research, data and good practices.

Eurojust (240)

It helps EU countries combat terrorism and serious organised crime involving more than one EU country.

Good Articles (subscripted)

  • None yet

References (superscripted)

  1. Galileo – GSA
  9. Europol

Change log:

  1. 5/8-2018: Created document
  2. 7/8-2018: Minor changes to references document
  3. 26/8-2018: Added to-do and silly quangos

Catalonia – Catalunya

In the wake of the independence discussions I thought a fact page would be good to have.

Flag of Catalonia


Area1: 32,108 km2


2017 estimate3: 7.477.131

This is around 16% of the Spanish population.


GDP4: €M 223,629

For comparison5 :



GDP per Capita






















Catalonia has a good GDP for a south-European country, but nowhere near the Nordic countries.


This is basically to highlight that Catalonia was a principality and therefore a country until 1716

The name Catalonia dates back to 1117.

The area was ruled by the counts of Barcelona and the House of Barcelona until 1410.

Catalonia was a principality together with the Kingdom of Aragon in the Crown of Aragon.

From 1164 to 1410 additional Kingdoms were added to the House of Aragon:

  • Kingdom of Valencia
  • Kingdom of Majorca
  • Sardinia
  • Corsica
  • Duchies of Athens and Neopatras (for a short time only)

This to a degree ties-in with the geographical reach of the Catalan language2.

1469 Ferdinand II of Aragon married Queen Isabella I of Castile creating an early version of Spain.

However both regions kept their separate status, parliaments and laws.

In 1716 the Principality of Catalonia was made a province after loosing the battle of Barcelona in 1714.


  1. Wikipedia – Catalonia
  2. Wikipedia – Catalan Countries
  3. El Instituto de Estadística de Cataluña (Idescat) – Población a 1 de enero. Provincias
  4. El Instituto de Estadística de Cataluña (Idescat) – Gross Domestic Product (Base 2010). Supply
  5. Eurostat – Gross domestic product at market prices

Public Sector Employment

Often talked about – but what are the facts…

I will be looking at full time equivalents (FTE); seasonally adjusted (SA) all readily available from ONS.


  • Public sector employment is still high even during the conservatives
  • Central government has increased mostly due to NHS staff increases
  • Local services has been decreased mostly due to cuts in social and health services
  • NHS staff has increased also during conservative government
  • Social services has been cut during conservative government
  • HM Forces being reduced. Only increase was during labour
  • Administrations is being cut during conservative government

Governments since:

  • 1979: Conservative
  • 1997: Labour
  • 2010: Conservative

Total Public Sector



Looking at the numbers below it does not add up:

2,602,000 + 1,610,000 = 4,212,000 so missing 285,000 FTE’s somewhere to get 4,497,000

Labour was in power from 1997 to 2010, which may explain the rising slope from 1999 to 2008.

The big jump in 2008 was due to bank nationalisations during the 2008 crisis.

Still in 2017 the public sector employment is high even during a conservative government.

Seems like austerity only applies to the private sector.

Central government



Increasing even with a conservative government.

Local government



Local services has been cut during the conservative government.

Public Administration


Administration has been reduced during the conservative government.



NHS staff has significantly increased since 1999 during both governments.

Hiring was very high during the 2008 crisis, which may have worsened the deficit.

Health and Social


May explain cuts to social and mental services and reduction in local government.

HM Forces


HM Forces has been continuously being reduced during both governments.

Only increases has been during labour governments.



Massive cut in 2012 but still higher than in early labour days.



Been cut during conservative government and still falling.

Civil Service


Been falling since 2005 during both governments.



This clearly shows the nationalised businesses and the selling of Royal Mail in 2013.


Based on ONS employment figures.


So nearly no unemployed then?


Seems like we are missing around 20%, which is the “economically inactive”:


Which translates to:


4.6% + 74.8% + 21.5% = 101%

ONS states:

Everybody aged 16 or over is either employed, unemployed or economically inactive

The definition of each of these are for people aged 16 to 64:

  • Employed:
    • had paid work (as an employee or self-employed)
    • in a job that they were temporarily away from
    • on government-supported training and employment programmes, and those doing unpaid family work
  • Unemployed
    • without a job, have been actively seeking work in the past 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks
    • out of work, have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks
  • Economically Inactive
    • without a job who have not sought work in the last 4 weeks and/or are not available to start work in the next 2 weeks
    • students, people looking after family and home, long-term sick and disabled, temporarily sick and disabled, retired people and discouraged workers


You are counted as employed even if you have a “zero hour contract” as you are in a job you are “temporarily away from”.



The key “actively seeking work” means anybody getting Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

Lots of people would not register for JSA as they would not get anything anyway.

Some examples from JSA rules where you would not get anything hence people would not sign-on then:

  • More than £16,000 in savings
  • Your partner works more than 24 hours per week

Economically Inactive

This is complex but looking at the data below it seems to be falling.


Male inactivity is increasing not sure why?:


Female inactivity is falling as more females are having a career:


It may be explained by more people on benefits but needs further investigation as graph below is not in % of total population:


Villages Inside Barcelona City

The best known areas with small streets are: El Raval, El Gotic and El born

However there are many other worth while seeing.

Most of these villages were “glued” together by the grid of Eixample in early 1900s.

The headlines link to tags related to the districts.

Vila de Gràcia

No secret any more but still many tourist never go here.

This district is very bohemian but has become more mainstream the last few years.

Great area to go for bars and restaurants.

English is spoken in most places here.


Fiesta de Gracia in front of the Gracia town hall (left) and Casa Vicens – Gaudi’s first house in Gracia (right):

image image

El Camp de l’Arpa del Clot

Quite unknown to tourists hence mainly Spanish area and less English is spoken.

Most bars are local but there are a few lovely bodegas and restaurant worth trying.

Have a walk down Rogent which connects to Poblenou.


Parc del Clot with the town hall in the background (left) and Diables in our local street (right):

image image


Near one of the main train stations but many people never get to see the village here.

My favourite place is Plaça d’Osca but also try to cross Carrer de Sants and explore the other side.


Building on Carrer de Sants (left) and Fiesta de Sants (right):



The “new village” having it’s own Rambla with lots of bars and restaurants.

But also try to walk in the parallel streets where less touristic bar and restaurants are awaiting.

And finally end up on the beach.


Beach bar at end of Rambla Poblenou hidden behind the boat yard (left) and a restaurant in one of the side streets off the Rambla (right).

image image