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Britain's Cameron threatens to veto EU budget

Huge increase in spending would 'not be acceptable' says PM after two-day summit

AFP, Friday 19 Oct 2012
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British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday he would veto the EU's 2014-20 budget if it included increases in spending at a time when member state budgets are being cut.

"The short answer is yes," Cameron said when asked if he would veto the EU's seven-year budget at a summit in November, adding that "we can't have EU spending going up and up."
 
"It would not be acceptable to see a huge increase in spending when budgets are being cut," he said after a two-day EU summit.
 
All 27 EU members meet next month to thrash out an accord on a 2014-20 one trillion euros ($1.26 trillion) budget proposed by the European Commission.
 
Cameron has been at the forefront of calls to slash at least 100 billion euros from the budget, to match in part the cuts many states have adopted to balance their finances and face up to the eurozone debt crisis.
 
A veto by non-euro Britain would put the budget back on the starting blocks.
 
French President Francois Hollande said he expected the 22-23 November budget summit would prove difficult and last well into the night.
 
"That one, that one is going to be long," he said.
 
In December, Cameron famously parted ways with Brussels over the EU's Fiscal Compact, which laid down the lines for tighter EU fiscal policy coordination.
 
At the time, he said he could not sign up to the accord because such new powers would undercut London's control over tax and spending, although he also wished his EU partners well if they wanted to go down that track.
 
Cameron took a similar line Friday at the end of a summit which reached a compromise agreement on setting up an EU banking union, the first step towards allowing the new European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to directly help struggling European banks.
 
Britain, as a non-euro state, has serious reservations on banking union, seeing it as a threat to the supervision of its own banks and wider financial services industry, a point the prime minister made again.
 
But he also said that the eurozone was right to pursue the plan since a single currency area had to have the single supervisor which the banking union will provide.
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