Disagreements a-plenty are filtering out of the EU Budget Summit, which is struggling to set a coherent financial course for the EU for the seven years from 2014 until 2020.
Short-term interests are steering the original proposals off-course. What the EU needs now may not work at the decade’s end, but it is now on many minds.
“Well, I don’t think that there has been enough progress so far. I mean, there really is a problem in terms that there hasn’t been progress in cutting back proposals for additional spending and it isn’t a time for tinkering. It isn’t a time for moving money from one part of the budget to another. You know, we need unaffordable spending cut. That’s what’s happening at home. That’s what needs to happen here”, said British Prime Minister David Cameron on day two of the talks.
Cameron is not the only fly in the budget ointment. Italy’s Mario Monti has also warned he could veto any cuts that hit Italy too hard. While many can agree with Cameron’s call for a cheaper beaurocracy, few support his call for fewer subsidies for struggling farmers, or less infrastructural investment in southern and eastern member states. After all, that would strike at the solidarity principle underlying the whole EU project.
“I don’t see any agreement of the 27 members. So one of my main worries is how do we get an agreement that can last 7 years?” said Austrian leader Werner Faymann.
The family that spends together, stays together has been one of the EU’s guidelines, but with the continuing economic crisis that is under increasing pressure as the richer members balk at spending more.