Talks between EU leaders to hammer out the budget for the next seven years have disintegrated, with prime minister David Cameron condemning the deal on offer as “just not good enough”.
Speaking after the failed negotiations, Cameron said:
“We’re not going to be tough on budgets at home just to come here and sign up to an increase.
“Frankly the deal on the table was just not good enough. It wasn’t good enough for Britain and neither was it good enough for a number of countries.
“In the UK we are cutting admin budgets by as much as a third, civil service staff by 10 per cent in two years. None of this has been easy. Meanwhile Brussels continues to exist as if it is in a parallel universe”
Cameron said there were “no excuses” for Brussels to avoid following the UK in cutting administration costs, with over 200 EU employees earning more than the PM’s £142,000 salary.
In negotiation, Cameron had suggested possible savings like a 10% cut in overall pay to save €3bn, as well as relaxing the rules on automatic promotion to save €1.5bn.
“Last night the Commission did not offer a single euro in savings,” he said.
However, Cameron was accused of “blackmailing” other EU leaders as talks fell through.
European parliamentarian Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democratcs group, said the talks had been “disastrous” due to the British premier.
“It is unacceptable that the majority of member countries are letting themselves be blackmailed by David Cameron who is permanently threatening to block progress in the EU,” he complained.
“The British prime minister, who is considering leading the UK out of the EU, is having more impact on the future of the EU than those who are committed to strengthening the EU and fulfilling their obligations.”
EU president Herman Van Rompuy said he listened to all EU leaders in drafting his budget proposals and acknowledged there were irreconciliable differences in opinion.
“We need some more time to finalise the solution. This is a budget for the rest of the decade and next the seven years will be crucial to put Europe back on the path of recovery and growth. So we must get it right.”
The prime minister’s rejection of the EU budget deal has been welcomed by figures on Twitter:
— William Poel (@wpoel) November 23, 2012