Merkel attempts to make peace with Cameron over EU spending

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel last night met with David Cameron in the hope of brokering a deal on the EU budget – as the Prime Minister promised to take “a very tough approach” to the negotiations.

Cameron said yesterday that attempts to push through a budget increase at the meeting of EU leaders on 22-23 November were “completely ludicrous” amid domestic spending cuts. The European Commission is seeking a 5.8 per cent rise.

Berlin is concerned that Britain is increasingly happy to play a bit-part role in Europe. Ahead of the talks Merkel said: “I want a strong Great Britain inside the EU. I cannot imagine a Europe without Britain.”

Cameron is in a difficult position following last month’s defeat in the House of Commons. Eurosceptic Tory rebels collaborated with Labour to pass an amendment demanding a real-terms cut in EU spending between 2014 and 2020.