UK says other nations back it on EU budget cap

George Osborne - Chancellor of the Exchequer

Chancellor George Osborne said that Britain had won the backing of Germany, France and Italy in its attempt to limit the increase in the EU’s 2011 budget to 2.9 percent.

Osborne said Prime Minister David Cameron had called an impromptu meeting with Germany’s Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Italian Silvio Berlusconi to discuss the issue on the fringes of the G20 summit.

“They all agreed that we would stick with 2.9 percent and no more,” Osborne told reporters at the G20 in Seoul.

“It (a higher increase) would be unacceptable to their domestic populations at a time like this,” he added.

Talks between European Union lawmakers and the bloc’s governments over the size of the EU’s 2011 budget collapsed on Thursday, threatening to throw EU finances into disarray.

Negotiators scheduled a last chance meeting for Monday. Its failure would undermine many EU programmes.

At the beginning of the talks, the European Parliament offered to drop its demand for a 6.2 percent increase in the budget from last year’s 123 billion euros (103.6 billion pounds) and to back a 2.9 percent rise, the maximum that governments are ready to accept, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said.

But in exchange the parliament asked for a string of guarantees over future financing of the EU, something that governments’ negotiators did not wants to discuss.
Source: Reuters

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