European leaders are back in Brussels for the 25th summit since the debt crisis began three years ago.
This time they are in the Belgian capital to discuss the EU budget, or how to spend 1 trillion euros over the next seven years.
The summit, due to end on Friday but expected to go through until Sunday, look sets to be a battle of national interests as cash strapped governments look for any crumb of comfort to show the folks back home.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel:
“It is for the future of the European Union, about investments in research and development, about better use of the money. Every euro has to be well spent. In this spirit Germany will be constructive, but mindful of our interests.”
The position of British Prime Minister David Cameron has captured the French and German imagination.
France believes that Cameron’s desire to block any increase to the EU budget indicates that Britian is preparing to leave the union.
Merkel said that “I will do everything I can to keep Britain in the EU as a good partner.”
Europe may take a softly, softly approach with Cameron as they know the prime minister intends to call a referendum after the next election and if the terms remain the same the UK, according to opinion polls, will vote to leave the union.