French minister judges EU budget demand 'unacceptable'

21st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

French European affairs minister Laurent Wauquiez repeated Thursday that a European Commission demand for a near five-percent increase in next year's budget is "unacceptable."

"All European countries are making savings at a level never before required, we can't understand why the commission is not following the same logic. It's unacceptable," Wauquiez said during a visit to Luxembourg.

Calling for a real-term freeze echoing the 2011 budget's negotiated 2.9-percent rise, Wauquiez said states have to "reflect" on how to spend EU funds more efficiently.

Britain, France, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands --- which together contribute half the EU budget -- want to halt rising EU spending and are pushing for a freeze from 2013.

The commission says it needs the extra money to pay bills falling due from policies agreed in previous years by member states and argues it cannot now break the law by reneging on those payments.

© 2011 AFP

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