VACATIONING A "HUMAN RIGHT"

April 21, 2010

The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers' dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips.  

According to Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, "Travelling for tourism today is a right.  The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life." 

How much will this new "right" cost? 

  • Subsidizing vacations would cost European taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros a year.
  • The taxpayers will foot 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.
  • The disabled and elderly can also be accompanied by one other person.
  • The European Union and its taxpayers are slated to fund 30 percent 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. 

Intended to instill a sense of cultural pride in Europeans, Tajani's human rights travel will also help bridge the continent's north-south divide and pad resorts' business in their off-season.   Northern Europeans will be encouraged to visit southern Europe, and vice versa.   Tajani says he wants to ensure that people's "right to be tourists" remains intact. 

In the midst of a global recession, some don't see the wisdom of creating a new, and expensive, entitlement paid for by taxpayers. 

"The commission is literally considering paying people to go on holiday," says Mats Persson, of Open Europe, a reform minded think tank.  "In this economic climate, it's astonishing that the EU wants to bribe people with cheap holidays." 

Source: Katherine Laidlaw, "Vacationing a human right, EU chief says," Ottawa Citizen, April 19, 2010.

 

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