So, the EU budget summit has — as expected — broken up without agreement. We await the date of the next discussion of the matter. But for the moment it means there is nothing that David Cameron will have to try to pilot through parliament.

Talking to those close to the Prime Minister, I sense that they are not unhappy with this conclusion. In Downing Street, they feel that their criticisms of the running costs of the EU bureaucracy have struck a chord with other contributor countries. They’re also pleased that Cameron has managed to strike a tough negotiating position without isolating himself.

But what is giving them the greatest satisfaction is how solicitous of the British position Angela Merkel was. They regard this as a promising sign for the coming renegotiation. It’s evidence — they believe — that Merkel doesn’t want to put this country is a position where it ends up walking away from Europe.

Tags: Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Downing Street, Europe, European Union