EU Budget: 'Long Way To Go' Before Deal
David Cameron has demanded billions in pay and pension cuts from the EU's civil service in support of austerity-hit workers across Europe.
Ahead of a crucial budget summit last night, he presented EU heads with a paper setting out how Brussels could slash at least six billion euro (£4.8bn) off its staff costs at a stroke by upping retirement ages, lowering pensions and trimming lavish salaries.
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso were caught by surprise during the private talks with the Prime Minister.
Mr Cameron's position was to impose a real-terms freeze in spending in common with national public sector cuts, including a solidarity gesture by targeting the 60bn euro-a-year (£48bn) administrative budget which pays the 40,000-plus civil service behind the Commission, Council and European Parliament.
Following the meeting Downing Street said there was "a long way to go" before EU leaders could agree a long-term budget.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Prime Minister set out our position that while the latest proposals were a step in the right direction, they did not go far enough and that we think more can be done to rein in spending."
Mr Cameron said he would be fighting "very hard" to secure a good deal for British taxpayers and to keep the rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
"These are very important negotiations. Clearly at a time when we are making difficult decisions at home over public spending it would be quite wrong - it is quite wrong - for there to be proposals for this increased extra spending in the EU," he said.
He has welcomed proposals from Mr Van Rompuy which would deliver a small real-terms cut in EU spending commitments, but has made clear he is unhappy with other details of the package, which demands a reduction in the £2.9bn UK rebate.
The start of the meeting was delayed until mid-evening as the rest of the EU's leaders held their own "confessionals" throughout the day, setting out their positions on how much cash the EU should be given to pay for policies between 2014 and 2020.
A pre-summit compromise is already on offer - a seven-year budget "envelope" of 973bn euro (£785bn) for 2014/2020, a cut of nearly 5bn euro (£3.8bn) compared with the 2007/2013 ceiling.
The move was seen in Downing Street as being in the right direction - although the "cut" is in a spending ceiling which officials say has not been reached.
It is also above the 886bn euro (£712bn) originally pitched by the Treasury as in line with the real-terms freeze Mr Cameron wants.
But in the complex world of EU budget economics, with financial "commitments" different from "payments", a range of calculation options, rebates for some countries, and contributor and beneficiary member states, Mr Cameron and his colleagues have plenty of scope for claiming summit success.
The Prime Minister's allies for budget belt-tightening, including Sweden and the Netherlands, have demanded hefty financial cuts.
Germany, France, Finland and Austria want to freeze the maximum Brussels can draw from member states every year - leaving plenty of scope to argue over the actual spending figures within the ceiling.
And 15 countries, led by Poland, are backing budget increases, not least to preserve the scale of cash aid they receive as "net beneficiaries" from the EU kitty.
Britain is arguing for a shake-up in EU spending priorities, cuts in agriculture spending and subsidies - fiercely defended by France - and cuts in EU staff levels and pay and perks, in line with national civil servants.
But the European Commission still insists that a spending increase is necessary, not least to pay for policies already agreed by member states.
what do you think?
Be very strong Cameron , if you have to VETO, dont wimp out ITS bout time the loved up France-Germany two some know WE need a dfair deal to our farmers, just like Poland!!! Year on Year and then severely review our Aid hand outs and we May just be getting somewhere Yes? Yes? Yes?
Cameron thinks he is a powerfull man the guy is the laughing stock of Europe
Like you are the laughing stock of this site
Thanks for that Dave, more misery for the people, more benefits stripped from terminal cancer patients and the blind. . Whilst you and that 'Eton Mess' Osbourne conntinue to sip the finest champagne, reminiss over pillow fights in the dorms, midnight raids on the tuck shop, and matrons bad baths. . . Were all in it together? Right?
Paul G is right. Cameron is still picking up the pieces after the monumental fk ups that Labour made during their term. There are no quick solutions, just a massive can of worms. Keep chipping away at it Dave. If Labour get in again in 2015 we really will be fkd.
Windows Live User
Not another lesson history please
Despicable man. Vote ukip and take back control from the politicians, who work for the banks who are owed by the corporate elite. Time for change. Time to wake up. No more UN. No more EU. We decide our fate not an unelected world organization that is taking away our freedoms by slight of hand.
UN being Utterley Nausiating and EU = Entirley Unreformable? I think I'm right on that arn't I?
And for all the thumbs down- you are like turkeys voting for xmas. Ha ha!
See the labour laughable are out Who put this country in this mess who raided the country's pension pot who soldbthe country's gold at its ever lowest price Who borrowed billions and wasted the money Who left office laughing saying we have spent all the money Could it have been LABOUR
Windows Live User
Paul I am neither labour or tory, but lets move on a bit please. This is becoming boring every day Tories also had a black day when in power. Raid pensions. Call pensions and benefits "Entitlement" when people paid in all their lives. Shelled out £1.2bn for G20 events. Ripped NHS apart now unless you have money you wont get fixed. Mentally ill no treatment. You can travel 100's of miles to be seen to without reimbursement etc etc etc We need to get over the troubles we are faced with not harp on over who made them!
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WLU. My main concern is not whose fault the current mess is but the fact that the two political parties whose remit is to get us out of it don't seem to have the foggiest idea how to
Windows Live User
Thank Dave Harrison. At last a voice of reason while everyone else bickers
France and Ireland want to protect payments to their farmers, Italy worries that other countries' rebates due to expire might be renewed while Denmark wants a rebate. Meanwhile the net beneficiaries of EU payments want more of other countries money. Greece & the Euro slowly sink into oblivion and they call this mess a union. Not unnaturally they are all putting national interests first and then they have the brass neck to criticise the UK for doing the same. Taxi for Britain.Lets walk away from this shambles which is no longer the trading block we joined
The sooner the better
Windows Live User
If Cameron is pressed into accepting a deal and our rebate cut. Then he should stand up and say Non, Nein, and stick it where your sun dont shine. Thanks for the lunch lads, I'm off The country will be fully behind him for once
Most of us havent had a pay rise due to inflation for years why on earth should the overly wealthy eurocrats??
Europe is over learn Portuguese and head to Brazil
Whats the point? All the south american countries are selling the land out from under their feet to the chinese. Once all the natural resources are gone then what?
Windows Live User
Head for Africa as they are booming with deals for the Chinese
What chance has Cameron got of reducing EU spending? They haven't had an audit passed for years, who knows what they spend and I dont suppose any other member state gives a fig, all they are interested in is going home with a fair deal. With the few days they've got it will be dog eat dog. Cameron will fighting in the pit with countries like France and Germany who deep down hate us and use us as a soft touch.The reason they hate us is because we print money to balance our books in order to avoid civic unrest something they can't do.All member states know this and they will not be slow in ramming the fact down the mouse's throat if they haven't already done so.They will probably tell us to print our own rebate.
How can they possibly justify increasing their budget when they are imposing austerity measures and cuts on evryone else? Don't hold your breath for Cameron to veto it though. The best we can hope for is 'a freezei n real terms' in other words an increase in line with inflation. time for us to get out I think.
As long as Europe (and the rest of the world) is run on a capitalist basis, this will ALWAYS be the case.
The Eu reminds me of Socialism, central government with too much say & control, it doesnt work. The pilgrims of the USA tried socialism. They really tried. They tried a collectivist economy based on people consuming what they needed, and producing what they could. They almost all starved to death. That's because socialism doesn't work for thousands of reasons that we're all familiar with. So they finally gave up and tried a little capitalism and learned new skills from natives. The end result was the ability to throw a grand feast. They decided to call that feast "Thanksgiving", and used it to give thanks. Thanksgiving: brought to you by capitalism. Have a wonderful day, everyone.
The EU reminds you of YOUR distorted view of 'socialism'. The image of 'Pilgrim Fathers' starving around their log fires then saying 'I know, let's try a little capitalism' and they all lived happily ever after is laughable and has no basis in historical fact. Native Americans DID help them when their harvests failed - how did they repay them? With genocide and robbery of their lands. Then they began to import black slaves from Africa and the rest - as they say - is the blood-drenched history of capitalism to what you see today - huge wealth gap between rich and poor, unemployment, homelessness etc in the 'Land of the Free'. Taste that 'Mom's Apple Pie'.
So, how do you prevent greedy pigs from moving in on socialism, such as a rather recent PM ?
Chris you have the distorted view..Of both socialism & capitalism based on your huge Mr angry jealousy. They were gradually forced into capitalsim, your comment is silly. You are only bothered about the gap between rich & poor, you are not interested in the poor being lifted higher by captialism than they were. Your focus is on being jealous how high the rich are. Where is your example of a socialist country that's as successful as the USA?
Grant Socialism is about dragging every one down to the same level except of course the ruling elite who will line their pocket at your expense and claim they are no better off than you. It is an ideal that has yet to be shown to work
Windows Live User
DO NOT GIVE ONE INCH OF GROUND TODAY DAVID. GET US A CUT OR TELL THEM TO STICK IT NO DISCUSSION ON MAGGIES REBATE OR TELL THEM WE WANT MORE REBATE!! IF THEY PUSH
Only half of Maggies rebate remains, now who was it that gave that half away with nothing in return ?
Can David Cameron - or anybody else - please explain what possible benefit Britain obtains by membership of the EU? If you're going to say trade then please explain why we can't trade without being a member as other non member countries do.
i suppose there might be some people at the heart of it who passionately believe it will help avoid us all trying to kill eachother because of jealousies. Being born out of two european/world wars is perhaps not the best mandate. And being largely corrupt in its administration does not help. If it was a desire to somehow play the super power game then it has been well and truly usurped by others ie those who dont spend most of their budget on small farmers in La France and Eire.
We are increasingly doing trade with countries outside the EU, as it was a few years ago. I think it is key that we don't get another weak government, like the last one that will just sign whatever is put in front of themk by the french and germans. Increase our trade with non EU countries and we will eventually be in position A. That is to say, we will be able to say bye bye to the corrupt self centered franco german club that is the EU.
Well the euro MPs do very well out of it and their enterage
I really do envy all those who are paid from tax revenue or borrowing! But the EU staff, in all its forms, must be well up there at the top of the pile. Salaries, renumeration packages, lifetime pensions for as little as one year in office. Luverly juberly...a sort of new aristocracy..people who can smile alot with great confidence.
They don't want you to envy them they want you to have sympathy for them.
France wants more money for increased subsidies for its inefficient farmers. Everyone must suffer except the french, who are special. Sickening.
The EU is doomed. This is the proof. Every country is only interested in its own national problems. Its all sweetness and light during the good times but as soon as the merde hits the fan then its look after number one. Further political integration is, and will remain, a dream, and I'll drink to that.
I notice DC only asked for a cut in pay and pensions of civil service workers, workers being the operative word, no mention of cuts for the politicians themselves, were in this together alright.