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
    -6

    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
    -6

    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
    -5

    Comment number 2.

    Is 'Dodgy Dave' becoming the Arthur Scargill of British politics? he is beginning to show many similarities.
    The most dispicable being making outrageous demands that he KNOWS are unobtainable and returning to blame others for his failings.

  • rate this
    -5

    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
    -2

    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?

 

Comments 5 of 25

 

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