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.

Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
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
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

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff