A dispute appears to be building between the European Commission and the current EU Council president Britain. On the eve of this Friday’s meeting of the EU budget ministers, the Commission has complained about what the governments want to do. They are seeking to slash a proposed increase in spending to promote growth and jobs in the bloc’s 2006 budget.The Commission says this contradicts calls from leaders for greater focus on these areas. But a British presidency official said the ministers only wanted to cut the proposed increase in research and development funding from a “massive” 22 percent to a “large” 12 percent. The official said this was because the Commission had been unable to spend all of last year’s money in that area. A Commission budget spokeswoman reiterated: “There is a contradiction between words and deeds”. EU leaders meeting in Brussels last month failed to agree on the bloc’s 2007-2013 funding. Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite has said she is pessimistic about Britain’s ability to steer the EU towards a deal. She says London’s liberal reform agenda has so far produced only a theoretical debate.
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