He was first in. Will he be first out?

David Cameron arriving ahead of the EU summit

David Cameron chose to be the first EU leader to meet the man chairing the summit which will set the EU's budget for seven years.

His aim was to convince Herman Van Rumpuy that he had come to seek a deal and was not set on vetoing one. But also to insist he could only sign up to a budget that does not rise faster than inflation and which has a British rebate which stays unchanged.

The man with the unenviable task of finding a compromise between 27 countries has drawn up a draft budget which is not far from Britain's first demand but breaches the second.

It sets the ceiling for planned EU spending - the equivalent of Europe's credit limit - just below what it is now - at 940 billion euros. David Cameron is arguing that actual spending - always a lower figure - should be frozen too.

He has proposed cutting billions of euros from the European Commission's proposed expansion of its favoured infrastructure projects and much smaller cuts - designed for their symbolic as much as their financial value - to the costs of the Brussels administration.

Increasing the staff pension age to 68 would save, it is claimed, a billion and a half euros. Another suggestion - uncosted - is scrapping a 16% salary premium paid to all staff who live in this city but are not from Belgium.

This summit will not succeed or fail on the back of such relatively small sums.

The key to it will be whether any political leader - Britain's or one of the other 26 - believes the political cost of this summit reaching a deal is greater than the cost of it failing.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Will the trolls of Tory Central Office get their act together.

    One lot are saying Labour will increase the contributions to the E.U. Budget.

    Another lot are saying if there is a referendum then it will be Labours fault if it goes pears shaped.

    Another lot are saying Labour want closer integration.

    I've just ealised it's not Central Office it's the Cabinet.

    As usual complete Omnishambles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Why don't we in the UK grow up and see the world as it really is! We cannot survive as a single nation any longer, we have to be part of something larger. What would the Euro sceptics have us do, become even closer to the USA? Join more of their wars? Tick boxes when they tell us too? We're Europeans so let's recognise that fact and get on with making Europe something secure and great.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    UK will never have a better opportunity for an EU referendum than now

    Corruption and waste in EU on an industrial scale
    Democratic deficit
    Big fat budget increase & accounts not signed off for 17 years etc etc

    It's now or never Mr Cameron - and Labour leader is backing you as saying EU budget is way too high & needs firm cut

    THIS IS IT !



  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    If ever there is a referendum, the real truth, facts and figures, as well as future intentions, will be will be hidden, just like last time. It took over 40 years and the eventual release of information that exposed just how we had all been misled the time we voted. The idea of the EU is good, but it is corrupt to the core by greed for power and money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    shame; the usual crop of 'posh boy' jibes.

    Reminder: Winston Churchill was born into one of the richest families in the UK and in a room in the UK's largest Palace.

    Can we get over the 'posh boy' stuff and stick to the real debate? The European gravy train needs stopping - and thats the truth.

    I dont discriminate against anyone because of what school they went to - if they can stop that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    does anyone know what the menu looks like at these super important talks? I'd hate to think of them going hungry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Is there any chance, do we think, that Ed Milliband, may for once be able to keep his mouth shut from his usual ramblings, when Dave has to use his veto?

    Labour clearly said they didn't want an increase, and I don't care who you are, and what party you are from, and how good or bad you may be at negotiating, the EU are never going to agree to the 'real' cut wanted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    What on earth is this posh idiot Cameron up to? He hasn't got an elected mandate here,the Eurocrats haven't an elected mandate either.Why has he not given us the electorate a choice as to wether-
    1 Give the British electorate a vote as to wether we want the fool as PM
    2 Give the British electorate a vote as to wether we want to be run by Brussels or our own parliament,no chance on either!

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    No13 Ron
    'Tory central'
    Such abiding memories. I wonder if the current incumbents ever remind David that everytime he appears on television more and more members of the party decide to leave, 80,000 since the Bullingdon Boys effectively seized the party machine.
    I would imagine our 'partners' in the EU will be most impressed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.


    Yes indeed - thank goodness its DC & not Labour's 'gordo-shambles' representing us in Brussels

    Can you imagine the damage that 'gordo-shambles' would do to UK finances here?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    thank god, that labour leader milliband wasn't negotiating deal, instead of bringing back power from europe this labour kid, will bite his arm of too give britain power aways, then will probably lie to us, like they did when they were in power, go, go, go david

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Sure, he'll come out dancing and singing PM's always do, but will they tell you the bad parts I doubt it, they never do. He will only tell us what they want us to know like the rest before him.

    Cameron's transparency is like blacked out windows, he'll be like a dazed mouse not knowing which way to run.

    EU will always want money and more, look where our trade has gone.

    EU is a cancer

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I see Tory central have their pre programmed trolls out in force. Shame they can't make their policies work so well. Mind you, there is limited space on the back of a fag packet to scribble the latest attention catching nonesense. Dodgy Dave is on a loser every time he opens his mouth. Best thing for Labour is to just let him drivel on and complete the burial of the Tories at the polls.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    "Labour knew that a budget cut was completely unrealistic, but still voted for it in the Commons."

    That is what really bothers me about Ed Miliband's approach to politics. He has no underlying principles of his own but will just say and do anything to get power. Heaven help GB if he ever got hold of it. But I doubt that he ever will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    #2 "The most dispicable being making outrageous demands that he [Cameron] KNOWS are unobtainable."

    Partisan bias on a serious issue. Labour knew that a budget cut was completely unrealistic, but still voted for it in the Commons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    .. negotiate my backside. There is a fallback situation of a budget increase in line with inflation should the talks fail to reach agreement. As in a "heads I win, tails you lose" type of arrangement. These Eurocrats are not stupid and will not under any circumstances see the gravy train interrupted on it's journey to their wallets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    What Labour did in the Commons as a cheap political trick may come back to bite the UK. We make thousands per person on trading with the EU. But, hey, when did what was good for the UK ever bother the Labour Party?

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    What will Cameron run out of first - paint or corners?

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    What Labour has done in voting for a budget decrease, when it would itself if in power have agreed a budget increase, was very irresponsible and very dangerous. It could end in Britain leaving the EU when it did not intend to do so. It also makes it impossible for a voter to actually believe in any future Labour policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Cameron should veto the budget, the other countries all want more money because the UK is paying for them, the UK is being bleed dry. With deep cuts and people struggling why give more money? The money is only going to be wasted on useless projects, disastrous immigration, French farmers and to support the crazy Euro project which has devastated EU. All of this weakens the UK. Referendum now! Out


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