EU budget: David Cameron says deal 'not good enough'


UK Prime Minister David Cameron: "We still believe a deal is do-able"

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Prime Minister David Cameron has said the EU budget deal being offered in Brussels "was not good enough", as the summit broke up without agreement.

Mr Cameron said "unaffordable spending" was being cut in its member countries and EU institutions had to start to live in the "real world".

He said that what had been suggested amounted to "tinkering" with spending.

"We put down a very clear marker," said the PM, adding that a deal was still "doable" but not "at any cost".

"This wasn't Britain as some sort of lone actor," he said, adding that other countries backed the UK view.

At a press conference after the summit ended Mr Cameron said: "All of these countries are net contributors to the EU. In other words, like Britain, they write the cheques.

"Together, we had a very clear message - 'We are not going to be tough on budgets at home just to come here and sign up to big increases in European spending'."

He added: "But we still believe a deal is absolutely do-able. Freezing budget is not an extreme position."

What next?

  • After the failure of this meeting there will now be negotiations to sketch out the basis of a deal at a fresh summit "early next year".
  • If no agreement is reached by the end of 2013, the 2013 budget ceilings will be rolled over into 2014 with a 2% inflation adjustment, amid uncertainty over long-term EU projects

The biggest net contributors (those who pay in more than they get back) are: Germany, the UK, France and Italy but EU Commission data shows that in terms of per capita contributions the UK is sixth, after the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Finland.

Leaders of the 27 EU member countries are expected to meet again early next year.

Some countries had wanted to continue the talks but the two day summit ended after Germany and the UK insisted the differences were too great.

Talks on the 2014-2020 budget began on Thursday and continued on Friday afternoon, with most EU members wanting a budget increase, but the UK and some others wanting a freeze or cut.

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy had circulated a revised proposal for the new budget at the start of the two-day summit and said he believed a compromise was possible.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after Thursday's talks: "I think we're advancing a bit, but I doubt that we will reach a deal."

UK rebate

French President Francois Hollande also cautioned that an agreement might not be possible: "We should not consider that if we don't get there tomorrow or the day after, all would be lost."

The EU Commission, which drafts EU laws, has called for an increase of 4.8% on the 2007-2013 budget.

The UK is the most vocal of EU member states seeking cuts in the budget to match austerity programmes at home

Mr Cameron has stressed the importance of the UK keeping its budget rebate, worth 3.5bn euros in 2011, despite the EU Commission and some EU governments wanting it scrapped.

Poland and its former-communist neighbours, which rely heavily on EU cash, want current spending maintained or raised.

Start Quote

The EU Commission had, Mr Cameron said, failed to offer up a single euro in savings - an insult to taxpayers.... and not stood up for taxpayers' interests.”

End Quote

Mr Hollande has also called for subsidies for farming and development programmes to be sustained for poorer nations. France has traditionally been a big beneficiary of EU farm support.

Failure to agree on the budget would mean rolling over the 2013 budget into 2014 on a month-by-month basis, putting some long-term projects at risk.

Analysts say that could leave the UK in a worse position, because the 2013 budget is bigger than the preceding years of the 2007-2013 budget round.

The UK government could then end up with an EU budget higher than what it says it will accept now.

The UK's opposition Labour Party said the summit showed the UK PM was "weak and isolated in Europe".

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said: "It is vital for Britain that the prime minister uses the weeks ahead to do what he has so far failed to do - making the calls, making the arguments and building the alliances - so that the right deal for Britain and for Europe can finally be agreed."

The Conservatives' junior coalition partners, the pro-European Liberal Democrats, said they were "at one" over Mr Cameron's actions at the summit.

A spokesman for Deputy PM Nick Clegg said: "Britain has worked constructively to come to a deal and, while there has been progress at this summit, the deal is still not right for Britain and a number of other countries.

"It is right that, across Europe, we now all take a couple of months to step back from this, continue to make our case for restraint and come back to it in 2013 ready to do a sensible deal along the lines we've proposed."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 793.

    If the EU wants Britain to play a large central role in Europe then perhaps it should try listening to what we have to say.

    Britain is hardly likely to feel like a key part of the EU when everything that goes in blamed on us, and our concerns are so regularly ignored.

  • Comment number 792.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 791.

    Recommendation 1 of the 2011 EU Audit report says that the 'value for money' assessment of the spending of the EU budget is highly questionable. And they want an increase in budget!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 790.

    Emily, I'm a UKIP voter because they're the ONLY ONES who are CLEAR on the EU.You have Labour with their lies about a Referendum in 2005 and the Conservatives tightroping between the LibDems and the Right. I was never asked if I wanted 3/4 of MY NATIONS LAWS made in a foreign country,or whether I wanted over 1 Million Economic Migrants here either.All I want is my say on it, if that's ok by you?..

  • rate this

    Comment number 789.

    The idea of the EU is brilliant

    Sadly the implementation of that idea is seriously flawed.

    You can always guarantee if there is a way to make a complete pigs ear of it, Politicians will do it in Spades!

  • rate this

    Comment number 788.

    Oh dear seems it is not allowed to mention a flightless Bird that is eaten on Thanksgiving
    That'll be the tasty North American one rather than the European one that, pound for pound, costs us a fortune.

  • Comment number 787.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 786.


    Nice to see your voice of reason on here promoting peace harmony and understanding between nations and cultures. All without even a hint of prejudice or bigotry

  • rate this

    Comment number 785.

    Oh dear seems it is not allowed to mention a flightless Bird that is eaten on Thanksgiving

    Your comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules.

  • Comment number 784.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 783.

    Why is Cameron all of a sudden some kind of hero, apart from a load of PR spin for his right wing what has he actually achieved in Europ

    Nothing, he accuses others of tinkering at the edges but thats what he's doing, they're tinkering in the middle. The only positive thing is that he doesn't seem to have alienated his potential allies for freezing the budget yet, he usually does.

  • Comment number 782.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 781.

    The EU ought to be reformed, but we, the UK, have made deals with france and others to keep our rebate rather than reform the EU. Our leaders are venial

  • rate this

    Comment number 780.

    The EU needs to be reformed and streamlined. Although I support the idea on principle these things need to change;

    Get rid of the unelected EU Commisioners
    Scrap the CAP
    Re-do the fisheries organisation
    Stop having the sessions in Strasbourg
    Streamline the admin systems
    Make corruption harder by suspending parties who break accounting rules (UKIP)

  • rate this

    Comment number 779.

    743. AlanP crisis is calling Europe for unity the rats bail out the ship ?

    No the rats have been entering and gnawing away at it for years, the sailors now want to put it back on even keel. East & South want - North is tiring of their demands. UK will be scapegoat, but they are the strongest / nosiest opponents. Many smaller nations in the EU, would hate to lose the UK influence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 778.

    Quote //774. ding-ding75

    Get your facts straight. They said they would hold a referendum if the treaty was not ratified by the time of the election. //

    Knowing full well that he would never have to test it, as the Treaty was already a done deal.

    Easy to make a promise you will never have to keep.

    Ask Cleggy? he never imagined for a minute he would have to keep his promise on student fees.

  • rate this

    Comment number 777.

    Bert (comment 765):
    "Turkey is not in the EU yet will build Transit vans."

    Turkey is an associate member of the EU (since 1963), though that doesn't mean much, it's a official candidate for entry since 1999, it wants 2013 but has been told 2021. countries are given help in the qualifying period which probably explains this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 776.

    I cannot understand the people who say we would be better off outside the EU, admittedly its a gravy train for MEP's, but to think that we could replace the trade we do with EU Countries if we were outside the EU is incomprehensible, we would have greatly increased unemployment, we cannot compete with the far east or even growing economies like Brazil, we are better off in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 775.

    Why is Cameron all of a sudden some kind of hero, apart from a load of PR spin for his right wing what has he actually achieved in Europe

    Are we all supposed to forget his party's incompetence at home now

  • rate this

    Comment number 774.

    @760.David Pickles
    "the guy who brought you a "Cast-iron guarantee of a referendum" on Europe"

    Get your facts straight. They said they would hold a referendum if the treaty was not ratified by the time of the election. DC sent a letter to the polish PM asking to stall the process

    He didn't, Labour ratified it on the UK's behalf so it was in UK law

    Labour though did promise a referendum in 2005


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