De Gucht rejects EU budget proposals
6 December 2005, BRUSSELS — Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht dismissed on Tuesday the British proposals for the long-term EU budget.
6 December 2005
BRUSSELS — Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht dismissed on Tuesday the British proposals for the long-term EU budget.
The proposal by British Prime Minister Tony Blair — who currently holds the rotating EU presidency — would lead to a significant cut in funding for new EU member states.
Blair unveiled a EUR 24 billion cut to the EU's next seven-year budget on Monday by restricting the budget to EUR 847 billion.
The proposal for the EU 2007-2013 budget would cap contributions to Brussels coffers at 1.03 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It slashed the budget from the EUR 871 billion proposed by the last EU president Luxembourg, which would have represented 1.06 percent of GDP.
And despite offering to give up a significant slice of its unpopular annual EUR 5 billion rebate, the plans were rejected immediately by the European Commission as "unacceptable".
New EU member states have also loudly condemned the plans.
Minister De Gucht said Britain wanted the EU to make cuts at the expense of others and was not willing to contribute itself.
He said further that it will be difficult to reach agreement at a crucial Brussels summit on 15-16 December.
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt had earlier threatened to use the Belgian veto against Britain's proposals.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news