Bullish Cameron confident of winning battle over EU budget

 
City A.M. Reporter
BRITAIN believes a deal can be reached on the European Union budget at crunch talks in Brussels this week, a spokeswoman for David Cameron said yesterday.

The optimistic tone came as Cameron insisted that he is a “good European” for attempting to drive down the EU’s budget rise.

“I think I have the people of Europe on my side in arguing that we should stop picking their pockets and spending more and more money through the EU budget,” the PM said.

Meanwhile the spokeswoman gave no reason for the change in tone, but said Cameron had in recent days spoken to leaders in Poland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands, and would be calling other EU leaders in the coming days.

All but one of those countries – Poland – contacted so far are net contributors to the EU budget, and more likely to be sympathetic to UK demands for a real terms freeze in EU spending. “The PM believes we can work through these details to get the right deal at this week’s summit,” she said.

The think tank Open Europe last night talked up the UK’s position.

“The EU could not ‘circumvent’ the UK’s veto,” it said. “It could move to roll over the 2013 spending ceilings adjusted to inflation with up to 55 individual spending items decided by Qualified Majority Voting. This would be extremely messy and the UK’s veto remains powerful.”