Coming to terms with Euro lingo

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The Independent Online
So many people describe themselves as Euro-this or that - Europhile, Europhobe, Eurocrat, Eurosceptic and so on - that nobody is sure any more who is what, or whither the Euro-debate bloweth.

The important thing for many Europeople is to jump aboard the Eurogravy train. It is easy nowadays for anyone to get a grant from Brussels to set oneself up as a Euroquango with a Eurohandle and operate as a Eurolobby.

Only the other day, I applied to the EU for a grant to set up a consultative agency that would explain to people what Euroterms meant, in order to write a contemptuous investigative piece showing how easy it was to get money out of Brussels, but I was sogratified to get a cheque for £4,000,000 by return of post that I have abandoned my plans to write the piece ("I posed as Eurosuitor to get Eurolucre") and decided to use the money to set up my new Euroagency instead.

I have now gone through all the steps necessary to set up this outfit (renting an office in Mayfair, hiring glamorous female assistants, getting MPs on the payroll to ask questions in Parliament, etc). I have named the new agency "Euroglossary". I am nowready to answer questions. And the first one is, of course: who let Kevin and Ian Maxwell disappear overboard with £4,000,000 of taxpayers' money in legal aid ...?

I'm sorry, that's a question for another time and place.

The question I'd like to answer today is: what do all these words mean?

I am glad you asked me that.

The key word is Eurosceptic. This comes from the Greek word meaning someone who fears that if the Tory party takes Europe too seriously, it will lose the next election.

Nobody, however, ever describes himself as a Eurosceptic. He always prefers to describe himself as a Eurorealist.

What is a Eurorealist? Well, it comes from the Latin word meaning someone who fears that if the Tory party takes Europe too seriously, it will lose the next election.

At the moment the Tory cabinet is full of Eurorealists, such as John Major. Their chief tactic is to face both ways at the same time and say one thing to Europe, and another to Britain. For instance, Mr Major tells the EU that to make things work properly, Britain must veto things wherever possible, opt out of the common currency, opt out of the Social Chapter, and so on. But he tells the British electorate that we must be at the heart of Europe and not be left out of anything.

(Some experts find this stance odd. They think he would be better advised to do it the other way round: promising Europe that we will co-operate, and telling the electorate he will be tough. Maybe he has got it the wrong way round by mistake. Maybe he isjust puzzled by the fact that this thing is called the Social Chapter and not the Social Charter, as he knows what a charter is but not a chapter. Maybe he has been too long in the job. Only time will tell. )

On the edge of the party are the so-called Eurorebels. These are far-sighted MPs who think it would be fatal for the Tory party to win another election and will do anything to ensure a short period in the wilderness.

Brussels is where all the Eurocrats live and work. These are people who have been uprooted from their own homes through no fault of their own and been forced to live in Brussels. To compensate for the mental suffering and hardship involved, they receive vast sums of money and are allowed to make the rest of us suffer.

Eurofraud is what happens when money goes from Brussels to Sicily, or anywhere en route.

Europhobia is what happens when Sir Teddy Taylor hears about it.

Eurovision Song Contest is a TV programme that Ireland is allowed to stage every year and which nobody else wants.

Euro MP is a name given to MEPs by newspapers when they need a longer word than MEP to flesh out a headline.

Eurogravytrain is the name given to the extremely fast modern Channel tunnel express that takes MEPs to Brussels and back again.

Euroslavia is the name earmarked for the federalist country that will replace Bosnia, Serbia, etc, when they reunite and apply to join the EU.

Non-specific Eurothritis is a painful and irritating disease afflicting everyone who has to talk or think about Europe for more than 10 minutes at a time, affecting the brain first and the liver and arteries later.

(Full list of Euroterms on request. Send blank cheque to Euroglossary, London W1.)