Austerity? Cameron warned over veto as Euro-MPs back above-inflation spending rise

 

Euro-MPs rejected budget belt-tightening today and backed inflation-busting rises in EU spending for the next eight years.

British Euro-MPs joined forces to fight the plans but were outnumbered in a Strasbourg vote endorsing European Commission demands for more cash to fund EU policies.

Most MEPs backed a 6.8 per cent rise in EU spending next year and an overall increase of at least 5 per cent in the EU's long-term 2014-2020 budget, both of which are due to be agreed before the end of the year.

Last Friday Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to veto any long-term EU spending plan above an inflation-only rise - effectively a real-terms spending freeze, for both next year and the long-term EU budget.

But the Austrian leader of the Socialist MEPs Hannes Swoboda warned this afternoon:

"If Mr Cameron threatens to use his veto, he should be aware that we can do it as well. The European Parliament is much stronger than Mr Cameron".

British MEPs were outnumbered almost five to one in today's vote, with the leader of the Tory contingent, Richard Ashworth insisting: "We believe the EU simply must stop spending money its member states do not have.

"It is plain wrong to impose austerity regimes on Greece and Spain at the same time as trying to increase spending and borrowing across Europe as a whole. That amounts to economic illiteracy.

"Fortunately the last word on this will be at the Council of the EU, (November summit) where Britain has a right of veto. You can be sure there will be some hard bargaining to come."

Glenis Willmott, Leader of the Labour MEPs, said: "In a time of crisis, when public authorities across the EU are cutting vital services, it seems that for Brussels it's still business as usual," she continued.

"The priority right now is to cut waste, go for growth and deliver a real term freeze in the budget."

Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon said: "It is vital that the EU budget reflects the hard financial times faced by all member states and therefore we want to see a more realistic budget that reflects the realities faced by ordinary people."

As MEPs were voting in Strasbourg, Foreign Secretary William Hague used a speech in Berlin to insist that the EU budget had to be "in touch with the real world."

He warned: "People simply do not understand why there should be massive increases in the EU budget when all EU countries are trying to balance the books at home."

But Bulgarian MEP Ivailo Kalfin, the Socialist Group negotiator on the budget, insisted increases were the right thing:

"The EU budget is different from national budgets. The EU budget is an investment tool to support long-term development and strategic European co-operation. In fact 94% of the EU budget is invested in the member states to create a European added value or in making sure the EU speaks with one voice on the world stage.

"It gives additional instruments to the member states and the regions that are crucial in times of austerity."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
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

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?