Cameron attacks “ludicrous” EU budget prior to Merkel talks
David Cameron has declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plans to increase the new EU budget as “completely ludicrous” ahead of a meeting between the two leaders later today.
Over a dinner held tonight in Downing Street, Cameron will demand that the EU show restraint in increasing the seven year budget from 2013 to 2020. The budget is set to be agreed at the end of this month by all 27 member states.
Cameron has come under increased pressure in recent weeks to reduce the amount Britain contributes to the European Union. Last week the government was humiliated by a defeat in the House of Commons, where a number of politicians, including 53 backbench conservative MPs, called for a real terms cut in EU spending. This was at loggerheads with the coalition’s argument for a mere freeze in real term spending.
Merkel is demanding a €100 billion increase in the budget over the seven years to help the crisis-stricken region. She will be hoping to sweet-talk Cameron into a compromise on his harsh stance, in order to prevent a British veto and deadlock at the EU budget summit at the end of the month.
Cameron’s stance stems from a growing amount of European scepticism within Britain, which is only increasing the perception across the EU that Britain is trying to push itself to the union’s periphery. In September, Cameron hinted that a referendum could be held to decide Britain’s future with the union after the next general election. This is in addition to Britain deciding to opt out of a raft of EU laws by the end of this year.
The Prime Minister insists that the EU and its member states must take tough action against growing budget deficits. After a swathe of cuts across Britain’s civil service, he argued, “we are not doing that in Britain to see the European Union do nothing similar itself.”