French President François Hollande fired a warning shot to the EU’s fiscal hawks on Tuesday.
He told MEPs in Strasbourg that France would stand up for their demands to protect European spending.
Hollande launched a thinly-veiled attack on British calls to cut the amount the bloc spends over the next seven years, while at the same time defending its EU rebate.
“A compromise is possible, but it must be reasonable and therefore we will have to reason those who want to cut the EU budget beyond what is possible to accept,” he said.
But British Conservative MEP Martin Callanan suggested Hollande should get France’s fiscal house before laying out his grand vision for the European Union.
“The Socialist prescription of Mr Hollande harmonize everything will be crazy for Europe’s competitivness, already France is losing competitivness massively and now he wants to export France’s problems to the rest of Europe,” he said.
Former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt said the French president should try and convince his fellow leaders to steer away from a ‘race to the bottom.’
“I think Hollande should try to convince his colleagues at the European Council to approve a budget for the future of the EU and to avoid bargaining down,” he said.
The EU budget amounts to nearly one trillion euros.
Negotiations between EU leaders start on Thursday and are expected to go late into Friday night.