Two point nine percent and not a drop more: That is as much as British Prime Minister David Cameron, wants to let the European Parliament increase the EU budget next year, which is roughly 130 billion euros.
In this, Cameron mustered the official support of some ten other countries, including major players Germany and France. It was a shade less austere than he had talked about recently, in calling for no increase at all.
Cameron said: “At a time when we are making painful decisions at home to put our economy back on track, I would not allow Brussels to derail us. We prevented a crazy 6% rise in the EU budget. We’ve made sure the EU budget must reflect domestic spending cuts.”
Negotiations just gearing up with the European Parliament should include Britain’s rebate on its contributions, suggested MEP Rebecca Harms with the Green group:
“I would really recommend the Council start serious debate on the future of a sustainable EU budget. So, the whole extra conditions for the UK, for example.”
No one thinks it will be easy to persuade the new British government to give up a projected €3 billion rebate in 2011, negotiated 26 years ago because the UK has always benefited relatively little from European farm subsidies.