A travelling public exhibition on the European Space Programme cost taxpayers a stratospheric £1.12 million with a paucity of visitors meaning each person who attended was subsidised to the tune of nearly £14 each.

In a written answer to a question submitted by London Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis, the European Commission revealed the cost of its travelling exhibition aimed at increasing awareness of the EU’s space programme, including the €3-billion Galileo satellite navigation system.

The Commission disclosed that the average cost of setting up the exhibition in each of the seven cities it visited was €185,000. This makes a total for all 7 cities of €1.3 million (£1.1 million). The total number of visitors was 81,000 meaning that every single visitor who attended the expo cost the taxpayer nearly €16 (£14).

In London, where the exhibition was set up on Horse Guards Parade, the exhibition attracted only 11,000 visitors. In Helsinki, twice as many people visited even though London has a population thirteen times that of the Finnish capital.

Mrs Yannakoudakis said: “I’m all for EU co-operation in research and technology and for encouraging young people to aim for the stars, but why is the EU spending such astronomical sums on promoting itself?

“I am regularly confronted by the most shameful waste of taxpayers’ money as the European Commission and other EU institutions lavish huge sums on communications. The EU Space Expo is just another example of wasteful spending.

“The EU may think it is making itself more popular though these measures, but when citizens learn the true cost of propaganda efforts, I am sure that they are as appalled as I am.

“EU citizens must be over the moon at David Cameron’s tough stance at the European Council, which has secured billions in efficiency savings. Now that the EU has tough choices to make on where to save money, it can look first of all at its communications budget.”

Tagged with: