Cameron stands firm in EU budget battle

2013-02-08 10:26
British Prime Minister David Cameron. (File, AP)

British Prime Minister David Cameron. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - Prime Minister David Cameron stood firm on his demand for further cuts in the EU budget on Friday, despite coming under pressure over his pledge to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the bloc.

Cameron arrived in Brussels on Thursday afternoon in bullish mood, insisting he would not back down in pursuing a reduced seven-year budget for the European Union, demands which caused the last summit in November to collapse.

"When we were last here in November, the numbers that were put forward were much too high. They need to come down. And if they don't come down, there won't be a deal," Cameron told reporters as he arrived.

Last year, Cameron refused to accept the near trillion-euro budget on the table in Brussels, despite EU President Herman Van Rompuy cutting it back to €973bn under pressure from London and backers.

Austerity measures

The prime minister said his position had not changed this time around, insisting the EU could not be "immune" from the austerity measures being implemented across the continent.

Cameron, who is struggling to shake off recession at home, is pushing to cut "tens of billions [of euros] off where we were in November", a British government source said before the summit talks began.

He has sought the support of allies who also pay more into the EU than they get back, including Germany, and had another meeting before the summit with the leaders of northern European nations Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

As the talks veered into Friday morning, reductions to the budget looked likely - although the extent and scope of cuts still needed to be finalised.

But Cameron's demands have again put him on a collision course with his European partners, particularly France, which has warned against cutting spending on investment at a time when 26 million people are unemployed across the EU.

The prime minister had been due to meet French President Francois Hollande for pre-summit talks, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

However, Hollande did not attend.

The French leader had earlier told reporters that "if Europe, seeking to reach a compromise at any cost, should abandon its common policies, forget farming and ignore growth, I will not agree".

Nagging issue

Cameron's promise last month to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU by 2017, in which voters will have the option to vote for their country to leave the bloc altogether, was a nagging issue for some.

Martin Schulz, the head of the European Parliament, warned against giving into London's demands, particularly as the budget "would cover a time span during which at least one member state has said that it may leave the European Union".

That sentiment was echoed around the leaders' negotiating table, including by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, according to a European negotiator.

Cameron's referendum pledge won him plaudits at home, especially with elements of his Conservative party who have long called for powers to be repatriated from Brussels to London.

'Special treatment'

But many EU leaders are growing impatient with what they view as Britain's continued demands for special treatment, now backed up with a concrete threat of exit.

Memories are also still fresh of a summit in December 2011 when Cameron found himself isolated after vetoing a fiscal pact aimed at tackling the crisis in the eurozone, of which Britain is not a part.

Cameron will need his European allies to help him push through the reforms he outlined in his speech on 23 January, when he made the case for Britain's place in Europe but warned that its unwieldy institutions needed to change.


Read more on:    david cameron  |  uk

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.