The latest “human right” — tourism!
posted at 10:55 am on April 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
Move over, right to free speech and peaceful assembly. Freedom of religion? Stand aside. If people thought that the “right” to health care sounded like a disturbing misreading of “rights” in the context of private property, the EU may just top that. They may declare tourism a human right — and stick European taxpayers with the bills from other people’s vacations:
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.
Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.
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, 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.
That’s certainly true now — when it indicates the quality of life for those who have earned enough money to take vacations. Those people can use their money to travel as they wish, within the limits of their own resources. They can choose to visit European destinations, or they can choose to visit the US or elsewhere, or at least they can at the moment.
What Tajani proposes is a protection scheme for European tourism. The EU would suck enough money out of the middle class to make traveling on their own volition less accessible, forcing them to apply for EU-subsidized vacations. Not coincidentally, those vacations would be limited to EU destinations, effectively keeping middle-class travelers from spending their euros somewhere else, such as Asia or the US.
The rich, of course, will still have the resources to travel anywhere they wish. Only those whose higher taxes eats away at their disposable income to the point where planned vacations become impossible will be left at the mercy of their elites in Brussels, who apparently don’t trust adults with the decision on where to vacation.
In their attempt to set up a fiefdom on vacation, though, the EU abuses and stretches the notion of “human rights” even further than could possibly have been imagined just a few years ago. Taxpayers don’t have any requirement to fund the free time of other people, no matter what kind of “rights” anyone invokes, no matter what country or supernational structure it involves.