European leaders denounce MPs over Brussels budget

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The Independent Online

David Cameron - backed by the leaders of France, Germany and Italy – today denounced Euro-MPs for sticking to demands for an inflation-busting increase for the Brussels budget.

The Prime Minister met the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi at the G20 Summit to discuss the stalemate in Brussels.

Euro-Mps are demanding a six per cent budget rise next year, while Mr Cameron and other leaders insist it should be no more than 2.9 per cent – still equivalent to an increase of £435m in Britain’s contribution.

If the wrangle cannot be resolved, the budget for 2011 could be frozen at the same level as this year.

Mr Cameron said: “I have always said that a freeze was a perfectly good outcome.”

He added: “We signed up to that approach of limiting the budget to 2.9% and we are sticking to that approach and that is very very firm indeed. There were extremely staunch when I asked them."

George Osborne, the Chancellor, said: "We all agreed that we would absolutely stick with the 2.9 per cent rise and not more."

Some Euro-MPs are demanding direct EU tax raising powers from 2013 as a price of backing down over their six per cent demand.