Latest from Brussels

Stalemate in Brussels as EU fails to agree budget

Cameron claims victory over defence of UK’s €3.6bn rebate but is accused of blackmail

Brussels

The European Union was in disarray tonight after its 27 leaders failed to reach agreement on a new €970bn budget at a two-day summit which collapsed amid acrimony.

David Cameron was accused of trying to “blackmail” other EU leaders but he was not the only stumbling block to a deal for 2014-20 and did not need to wield his veto. Crucially, there was no agreement between France, anxious to preserve farm subsidies, and Germany, which backed Britain’s call for deeper EU spending cuts along with the Netherlands and Sweden.

At a Brussels press conference, Mr Cameron fired another broadside at EU bodies after he failed to win cuts in the administration budget. “EU institutions simply have to adjust to the real world. Brussels continues to exist as if it is in a parallel universe,” he said. He complained that “not a single euro” of savings from the generous pay and perks of Brussels officials had been proposed, which was “insulting to European taxpayers.”

The Prime Minister, who argued for cuts of about €50bn over the seven-year budget period, said Britain and its allies had “stopped what would have been an unacceptable deal”.

He also preserved Britain’s €3.6bn-a-year rebate on its EU contributions, which came under attack from several countries. Mr Cameron claimed that he had seen off an attempt to isolate the UK by uniting all the other 26 EU members against it. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, halted that idea in its tracks.

European leaders will resume talks on the budget early next year. To retain Germany’s support, Mr Cameron will be under pressure to approve plans for banking union in the eurozone at another EU summit next month.

The Prime Minister again raised the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU. He said the “new settlement” that would follow the euro crisis would bring opportunities for “new consent,” adding: “I support our membership of the EU but I don’t support the status quo.”

British officials blamed the summit’s collapse on the negotiating strategy of Herman van Rompuy, who chaired the talks as President of the European Council. One claimed he had botched it, making little progress in his one-to-one talks with individual leaders and restricting the scope for discussion between the 27 leaders.

Brussels sources hit back, saying there was an unbridgeable gap among countries who are net contributors to the EU budget –notably France and Germany. Mr Van Rompuy tried to reach a compromise by switching money from investment projects to farm subsidies and grants to poor regions but failed to build momentum towards a deal.

Dismissing Mr Cameron’s latest attack on the Brussels bureaucracy,  sources insisted Mr Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, did not have a veto on the budget. They said administration accounted for only 6 per cent of EU spending, that €6bn had been cut since 2004 and staffing was being reduced by 5 per cent.

François Hollande, the President of France, said: “At past budget summits we tended to see an alliance between France, Germany and Britain to reduce the size of it. The fact there was a change in May [with his election as President] meant our positions were not as unanimous. Today the most uncompromising [countries] are talking about [cuts of] €30bn. These are not insurmountable amounts.”

Hannes Swoboda, president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats which includes Labour MEPs, said: “It is unacceptable that the majority of member countries are letting themselves be blackmailed by David Cameron who is permanently threatening to block progress in the EU. The British Prime Minister, who is considering leading the UK out of the EU, is having more impact on the future of the EU than those who are committed to strengthening the EU and fulfilling their obligations.”

Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian Prime Minister and leader of the  European Parliament group that includes the British Liberal Democrats, said the UK rebate should be abolished. He said: “It is not necessary to isolate Cameron. He isolates himself.”

Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, said: “David Cameron has failed to persuade other European leaders to deliver the reform of and real-terms cut in the budget which MPs voted for. He is increasingly weak and isolated in Europe, just as he is at home.”

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
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

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup