Coffee House

Cameron in tight spot as he refuses to budge on EU Budget

7 February 2013

6:40 PM

7 February 2013

6:40 PM

David Cameron caused a stir today by walking, yes, walking, into the meeting of European leaders in Brussels to discussed the multiannual financial framework. Other leaders arrived in their cars. Perhaps he was trying to make a point about the EU’s excesses as he seeks a reduction in the spending plans currently on the table, but in case they didn’t get the hint, he gave this broadcast clip on arrival, saying:

‘Frankly the European Union should not be immune from the sorts of pressures that we’ve had to reduce spending, find efficiencies and make sure that we spend money wisely that we’re all having to do right across Europe. Now when we were last here in November, the numbers that were put forward were much too high, they need to come down and if they don’t come down there won’t be a deal.’

The stakes are high both in Brussels and back home. Cameron knows that, played badly, these negotiations could limit his long-term gain from the Big Europe Speech. He is in a tight spot because if he is too pushy with European leaders, he could end up being isolated again at a time when he needs their reassurance about the UK’s bargaining power for future renegotiations.

But if he doesn’t get the deal that he wants, he’ll return to an angry Conservative party, with Labour as happy to provoke them as it was last November when it ganged up with them to defeat the government. Even though Tory MPs seem very happy to talk about anything other than Europe, troublemakers will soon add EU spending to their list of ‘key tests’ for the Prime Minister if they sense he’s going to be on the back foot again on European affairs.

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Show comments
  • John McEvoy

    The purpose of the EU – and all ‘government’ in fact, is to provide nice jobs and even better pensions for some people at the expense of a lot of other people. There is no will or appetite to reduce government by people who ‘work’ for government. It should be done by the people who fund it, but ‘government’ has made sure that we are outnumbered. The future of the socilaist welfare state is only debt, decline and bankruptcy.

  • Against Ignorance

    Hitler created economic growth and eliminated high unemployment by debt
    financing a gigantic public spending programme to provide roads, weapons,
    military equipment, mass production factories and he reintroduced conscription
    all of which ended in the world war that he started with his economic growth
    model. Now the former collaborator nations that helped the nazis in their
    deadly ambitions want to imitate his growth model down to a nail in the coffin
    of financial prudence and environmental governance. The charlatans who run the
    EU want to increase the existing debt bubble to do as Hitler did and it can be
    predicted it will also end in war over the depleting ressources that are needed
    to keep a country functioning. So the Hollandes et al want to print money ad
    infinitum to debt finance their mad fantasies of economic growth and national
    glory under the EU umbrella that they are using exclusively for their own
    national survival. The other bankrupt club med nations follow the french like
    sheep because they all have the same intentions/ambitions. The fact is that
    until they can all get involved in the wars to come unemployment will continue
    to rise as for every job created two are lost somewhere else. Economic growth
    everywhere has proved to be nothing but underlying inflation. But the Hollandes
    dont have the intellect to work this out they rely on the cronies who profit
    from ever more debt.

  • Jeremy Poynton

    “he could end up being isolated again at a time when he needs their reassurance about the UK’s bargaining power for future renegotiations.”

    Why is this flim-flam still being bandied about as a possibility. It’s not going to happened. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty makes this quite clear; if we wish to renegotiate our relationship with the EU, we have to quit, and apply for re-entry under new terms. Why are no politicians admitting to this, a fact which is widely known, except, it would seem, in the House.

    I am for full withdrawal. The last straw for me was seeing this, today

    WTF has football to do with the EU? Have they not got enough on their hands, torturing Greece into submission, and preparing to do the same to Spain and elsewhere?

  • patricia marsh

    how is he spending money wisely he has a social
    house that has a spare room plus 3 other homes goes to wine tasting that cost taxpayers over 12.000 pounds has his shopping paid for on expenses thats 160.00 a week plus other expensis he is employed by the british public we work and have to pay for these everyday things ourselves oh and he at one time claimed d.l.a for his disabled child paid for with our taxes and he also claimed for nappies and also child benefit and plus the other goverment scroungers who have done the same if we add this up over a year along with the other mp s and remove this privalege which us workers dont get i think that would be fair or give us the same expenses after all its only fair he didnt need to claim from welfare he was a millionaire and after all we all in this together

    • fantasy_island

      patricia we have a wonderful invention here in the uk callled punctuation to make it easier to read and understand what it is that you are on about because sometimes it is tedious have to unravel the rantings of a loony heres a starter

  • David B

    Ultimately the harsh light of reality must hit the EU at some point. I just hope it is now but I fear the MEP’s or commission will try and pull a budget increase rabbit out of the hat at the very end

  • realfish

    There seems to be a growing consensus that Cameron and other countries seeking restraint will come out of this with a cut in the budget. Even the usually hostile, Toryphobes on C4 news read it differently to Isabel, saying this could be the first budget reduction in EU history.

    • Michael990

      It will probably appear so. But the reality will of course be different. And we will probably lose at least some of our rebate as part of the game.

  • Adrian Drummond

    I wish you were more circumspect in your reporting. Other European countries are also not pleased with the EU budget. I noticed in this morning’s Dutch papers that the Dutch government were demanding cuts. The Dutch broadcaster NOS says that Prime Minister Rutte “voert daar een gevecht over de Europese miljarden” (is fighting a battle over the European billions).

    • LordLieutenant

      Quite. And although Cameron is, was and always will be the weak leader we never wanted, it’s worth noting the effect his speech had on the conversation between our Northern European friends.

  • 2trueblue

    Considering we are one of the main contributors to the EU coffers, and we have far less MEPs than 15 other countries , whose population together is less than ours, and who are at the receiving end (benefits) it hardly gives one confidence that he is going to be terribly successful.

    I can’t remember Bliar being condemned for his efforts, which ended in total failure and he even gave away Thatchers rebate. The renegotiation of the CAP has yet to take place. Germany has not got the balls to say what she really thinks because they want to maintain their mantle of respectability and of course they have been busy selling their wares at Greek prices.

    • HooksLaw

      In the USA Wyoming has 2 senators. California … has 2 senators.

      Based on various measures like population and % of income – we are not major contributors to the EU.

      By %age of gross national income we are last. Greece (!) is first.

      • 2trueblue

        They are part of an United States of America, we are not part of United States of Europe. Your other figures are an irrelevance.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        The US Congress is a bicameral legislative body. The US Senate is one of those bodies, and the other is a proportionally representative US House.

        If the EUcrats came up with such a bicameral system, with each member state having 2 seats in one body, alongside a proportionally representative second body, I think you’d see less grumbling about the EU’s workings.

        But the EU’s purpose is to use “democracy”, because “democracy” is the quickest route to centralized power, and that’s what the EU wants. Authoritarians and socialists absolutely love “democracy”, because as was once famously said, democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner, and that’s the calculus authoritarians and socialists always want to set up. Every mad dictatorship blathers about “democracy”. It’s a constant. Hamas runs a “democracy”.

        But when you throw a monkey wrench into the authoritarians’ plans, with another legislative body that hears the sheep out, then the sheep at least get a voice, even if they do eventually get devoured. That’s what a 2 representative per nation body would bring on.

  • David Ossitt

    We should withdraw all and I do mean all of our payments, this corrupt institution has not had the accounts signed off for at least 13 or is it 14 years.

    When I was on the local town council our Town Clerk would have topped himself if his books were ever less than perfect.

    Throwing good money into this cesspool of financial filth is wrong, it is high time we were out.

    • HooksLaw

      ‘all’ payments?
      Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU but make payments to the EU.

      Switzerland pay £2 billion a year for access to the EU.
      Population of Switzerland – 8 million
      Popuation of UK – 62 million.
      Go do the sums if we are out… (and of course they do not get any votes)

      The swiss are part of Schengen. (this was as a result of a referendum!)

      Switzerland has 210 trade agreements with the Swiss but the EU has said it will conclude no more until the Swiss are formally in the EEA.

      Oh and Switzerland has contributed to seven out of 23 EU common security missions: EU Police Mission and EU Military Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina , EUPOL RD mission in the Congo, European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EU Police Mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia , a Monitoring Mission in Indonesia and EUFOR a Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
      Its adopted 5 non-UN but EU sanctions.

      Since 1979 the net UK deficit between paid in and paid back is £2.6 billion a year. What a massive sum to get worked up over.

      • fantasy_island

        And what is the % lost to bureaucracy / administration between paying in and receiving back?

        Why not just leave it here in the first place?

      • global city

        How much do China and America (to say nothing of the 60+ countries that have signed free trade treaties with the EU) pay to trade with the EU? If they pay nothing then how can this be?

  • telemachus

    So every country has a red line
    How does that take us forward to a settlement

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Why would Dave need Brusselscrats’ “reassurance about the UK’s bargaining power for future renegotiations”?

    If bargaining power is what he wants, I’d suggest he schedule an EU referendum. The fount of bargaining power would suddenly spring forth like Victoria Falls, once that date was booked.

    And even assuming Dave needed their “reassurance”, why would he have to buy it, by surrendering even more cash to those Brusselscrats?

    This is just another puff piece that wants to set up some fantasized herculean obstacle facing the Speccie’s beloved Cameroonian heroes, oh the suspense and agony, but wait it looks like they’ve pulled it off and the new bill will be only 2.9% more than last time, so Dave won again!

  • Rhoda Klapp

    They’ll screw him just for fun (the other euro leaders, that is). They don’t like him, they will be happy when he is replaced. If he were a more eurosceptic PM, they would dislike him even more. They don’t mind using him as a stalking horse, but nary a one will back him up publicly. That is how we stand in the EU. So long as we go along with it we are tolerated. As soon as we want something inconvenient we are shown where to get off.

    • telemachus

      not so sure
      The Krauts are with us

      • Boudicca_Icenii

        Then the Krauts would be pressing for a reduction in the EU Budget and they’d be telling the rest of the EU that it’s time to start accepting that the only way to keep the UK in the EU is to start dismantling it to pre-Lisbon status and accept that powers will be returned (permanently) to nation states.
        But the Krauts have no intention of doing that. They don’t support the UK – they simply want us in and paying half the bills for them.

    • David Ossitt

      “we are shown where to get off”

      Then we should get off Rhoda, it is now inevitable but when?

      I pray it be soon.

    • Andy

      They only want is there for our gold. Time to turn the tap off.