David Cameron in dash to EU capitals to avoid being isolated over budget freeze

 

David Cameron will hold an intensive round of meetings with other European leaders over the next two weeks in an attempt to avoid being  isolated on the EU budget  at a crucial summit.

The Prime Minister is expected to visit some European capitals and invite the leaders of some other countries to Downing Street to try to rally support for his plan for a real terms freeze in EU spending for 2014-20.

Although Germany, France, the Netherlands and Finland backed Britain’s call for a freeze in 2010,  Germany is now supporting a small above-inflation rise and the then leaders of  France and Finland have since lost power.  Mr Cameron, who has urged these countries to stick to their guns, may also lobby nations such as Spain and Italy.

The Prime Minister’s talks with Angela Merkel, the  German Chancellor, on Wednesday night failed to end the deadlock. There are fears in London that other EU members may coalesce around her proposal for a modest increase in spending – less than the 5 per cent real terms rise sought by the European Commission.

Ms Merkel floated plans for a cut in EU administration costs in Wednesday’s talks at Number 10.  But Mr Cameron believes that, with running costs accounting for only about 6 per cent of the total EU budget, the move would not secure the backing of Eurosceptic Tory MPs.  Fifty-three of them joined forces with Labour last week to inflict an embarrassing Commons defeat on Mr Cameron by demanding a cut in EU spending.

However, Labour also has its tensions over Europe.  Ed Miliband was accused of opportunism by backing the Tory sceptics last week, a move which angered the Liberal Democrats and Labour Europhiles and worried some business leaders, who fear the UK is heading down a slippery slope towards the EU exit door.

Writing in The Independent today Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, tries to reassure Labour’s critics by insisting that it remains a pro-European party.   He insists the Opposition was right to demand “restraint and reform” of the EU budget to ensure the European project has “solid foundations” . But he argues that Labour remains an internationalist party committed to Britain’s future in Europe.  “In the months and years ahead Labour will continue to make the case for reform of Europe and not exit from Europe,” he writes.

Fears among Europhiles and business leaders that the increasingly heated debate could push Britain out of the EU were heightened yesterday by a YouGov poll showing that 49 per cent of people would vote leave the Union if there were a referendum now, while only 28 per cent would vote to stay in the EU and 17 per cent replied “don’t know”. In contrast, 57 per of Germans would vote to remain in the Union.

There are growing signs that EU leaders may not reach agreement at the two-day summit on the budget in Brussels starting on November 22.  With Mr Cameron threatening to veto a deal, which requires unanimous support of all 27 leaders, they  may have to put off a decision until next year.

Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VMware Infrastructure Engineer - (VCP, VMware) - £45k, London

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Infrastructure Engineer, VMware (VCP, NetApp,...

Business Development Manager

Salary/Rate: £32,000/annum: M&E Global Resources Ltd: Description/Main Duties ...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor