EU budget summit edges toward collapse



Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 23 November 2012

Last update 24 November 2012 10:33 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BRUSSELS: EU leaders looked set to throw in the towel Friday as talks on a trillion-euro budget for the 27-member bloc faltered over tensions between rich and poor states and Britain’s “virulent” demands for austerity.
British Prime Minister David Cameron kept up his defiant stance as he arrived for a second day of bitter negotiations on the European Union budget for the seven years from 2014-2020.
“There really is a problem that there hasn’t been the progress in cutting back proposals for additional spending,” Cameron, who back home has to pander to the powerful euroskeptic wing of his Conservative party, told reporters.
Britain, like many countries across Europe, is responding to economic crisis with major public spending cuts and Cameron argues that at a time of austerity at home the EU must also make deep cuts.
His bleak assessment of the state of the budget talks was shared by other EU leaders, who arrived one by one at European Council building in Brussels for bilateral meetings before the summit proper resumed at midday.
“I believe that also in this round, we won’t be where have to get to, which is a unanimous decision,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, repeating a line she had taken even before arriving in the Belgian capital.
“If we need a second round, then we will take the time necessary for it,” se added, referring to the prospect of a second summit in the coming months to nail down a deal.
Nearly a year after he angered his European counterparts by vetoing a pact to resolve the eurozone crisis, Cameron was again at odds with them by demanding cuts to the perks enjoyed by so-called “eurocrats” — the well-paid EU civil servants who are frequently targeted by the British press.
British officials insisted that other countries including Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany largely backed Cameron’s position for a reduction in the planned trillion-dollar budget for the seven years from 2014-2020.
But an EU diplomat said the main obstacle was Cameron’s demand for cuts, adding: “The most virulent were the British, the Swedish and the Dutch.”
Cameron had vowed to bring down the budget from a proposed 1.047 trillion euros ($1.347 trillion) to 886 billion euros.
The summit was scheduled to resume at 1100 GMT on Friday once delegates from the 27 member nations have had time to examine new proposals on the budget submitted by EU President Herman Van Rompuy.
The proposals reintroduce his own earlier figure of 972 billion euros in spending, which comes to just over one percent of the EU’s total economic output, the usual benchmark used in Brussels budget talks.
The latest blueprint which negotiators will work from Friday spreads the funds more generously to sensitive envelopes like the “cohesion” funds for regional development, and the Common Agricultural Policy, the farm subsidy program cherished by France that is the budget’s biggest single item.
“We will not accept the unacceptable,” warned Prime Minister Mario of Italy, which like France defends farm subsidies, but also backs cohesion funds which have vastly aided Italy’s less developed south.
Italy is among the countries that contribute more to the EU budget than they get back, known as the “net contributors,” while once mighty Spain, rocked by the eurozone debt crisis, rejoined the camp of those who get more cash than they put in.
Cohesion funds — billions of euros outlayed each year to the EU’s poorer members so they can catch up with richer neighbors — are being defended tooth and nail by the 15 “Friends of Cohesion” nations, led by Poland and Portugal.
“Cohesion is an issue of competitiveness and growth for the whole European Union, not just for the countries with the greatest needs,” argued Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of debt-stricken Greece.

 
 

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman briefed the Cabinet, on Monday, about the message he sent to the Kuwaiti emir and the messages he received from the Moroccan king and the Qatari emir.The king also spoke about the outcome of his m...
RIYADH: The Eastern Mediterranean Office (EMRO) of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday announced that the region is considered a Zika virus-free zone.Dr. Alaa Alwan, the regional director of EMRO, said that it does not mean that Middle East...
JEDDAH: The Saudi Health Council is working to establish an electronic system to prevent manipulation of sick leave holidays.Dr. Yaqoob Al-Mazrouh, secretary-general of the council, disclosed this during a seminar on Sunday. He did not elaborate on h...
RIYADH: Specialized Clinics Arabia (SCA) treated a total of 9,220 Syrians at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan during the month of January 2016, according to Dr. Hamid Mufalana, SCA medical director.“Many of the patients were children who were given...
JEDDAH: The Jeddah police have solved the mystery surrounding the thrashing of a man by another, the video clip of which had gone viral.It was a Herculean task for the police to search for the victim, who had not bothered to lodge any complaint. The...
JEDDAH: The Cutoms Department at Yanbu’s Prince Abdul Mohsen bin Abdul Aziz Airport recently foiled an attempt to smuggle 64,165 Captagon pills found hidden in four boxes.Saad Al-Buqami, director-general of Customs at the Airport, said: “During our c...
AL-AHSA: Plans are afoot to turn the Al-Ahsa dates festival into an international event by adopting top standards in the manufacture, packaging and marketing of the product, Adel Al-Mulhim, the general supervisor of the festival, has said.Speaking du...
RIYADH: A gang comprising two women and youth has been arrested for allegedly looting cash from pharmacies and snatching women’s handbags in malls.Col. Fawaz bin Jameel Al-Maiman, police media spokesman of the Riyadh region, said the arrests were mad...
RIYADH: Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar on Sunday called for conservation of water and electricity, even as the Water and Electricity minister said Saudi Arabia will need an investment of SR500 billion for power projects over the next 10 years t...
RIYADH: More than 200,000 people accused of various crimes were investigated by the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIPP) in the financial year of 1435-1436 A.H.Among the 218,000 who were investigated, around 30 percent or 65,000 were...
RIYADH: Thousands of Saudis have visited the German pavilion at the Janadriyah festival since it was opened by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman last week, in the presence of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German Amba...
DAMMAM: The cold wave in many parts of the Kingdom over the last week caused a decline of between 30 percent and 50 percent in farm production. This decline in turn drove prices of agricultural products at wholesale markets up by 30 percent.Farmers s...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry warned on Monday that heating devices should have a voltage of 220 volts with a capacity not exceeding 2,500 watts.The announcement was made when MCI inspectors seized more than 3,000 substandard heating...
ALKHOBAR: Nearly 100 leading figures in the government and private institutions have completed training programs specializing in integrity and anti-corruption provided by the Saafah Foundation for Good Example in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.The secre...
JEDDAH: Iraqi authorities executed in Baghdad on Sunday a Saudi prisoner, Abdullah Azam Al-Qahtani, 35, on charges described by his family as fabricated.Al-Qahtani had spent almost 13 years in the Iraqi prisons.Rumors about the execution of Al-Qahtan...

Stay Connected

Facebook