David Cameron to demand €7bn cuts in Brussels bureaucracy at EU summit
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 06 February 2013
Tens of billions of euros of further cuts will be demanded by David Cameron as European Union leaders wrangle over how much the 27-nation bloc should spend between 2014 and 2020.
There were signs tonight that the Prime Minister’s campaign for spending restraint is gaining support. Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council President, who will chair a two-day summit in Brussels, starting on Thursday, is expected to reduce by €15bn the €973bn seven-year budget he proposed in November, which resulted in deadlock when EU leaders debated it.
Mr Van Rompuy said that “for the first time ever there will be a real-terms cut compared to the current budget”. On the face of it, that would meet Mr Cameron’s long-stated goal and could allow him to “sell” the deal to Eurosceptic Tory MPs.
Mr Cameron will renew his demand for at least €7bn of cuts to the Brussels bureaucracy through a 10 per cent reduction in the pay bill; an end to automatic promotion; reduced pension rights and scrapping special tax advantages for staff. He will point out that Whitehall has secured £12bn of similar efficiency savings since the Coalition was formed in 2010.
It will be his first meeting with his EU counterparts since he announced an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the Union last month – a move which angered some. The Prime Minister told MPs: “These are going to be extremely difficult negotiations.”
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is seeking to broker a deal acceptable to both the UK and France, whose President, François Hollande, is keener to maintain spending and has previously targeted the special rebate on Britain’s EU contributions won by Margaret Thatcher in 1984. The net recipients from the EU budget, including Poland, are also anxious to preserve spending levels.
The European Commission said it had already agreed to cut more than €1bn in administrative costs over the period. A spokesman said more severe cuts would leave the Commission unable to do its job, just as it is being called on to do more as the EU integrates more deeply.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 4 Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
- 5 Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...