Spain, France ally against UK on EU budget

6th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, Sept 5 (AFP) - Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and visiting French minister for European affairs Catherine Colonna on Monday jointly called for rapid agreement on the enlarged EU with a view to sealing the 2007-2013 budget.

MADRID, Sept 5 (AFP) - Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and visiting French minister for European affairs Catherine Colonna on Monday jointly called for rapid agreement on the enlarged EU with a view to sealing the 2007-2013 budget.

"They underscored the need to reach swift agreement that will enable the financing of the new enlarged Europe and increase spending on research and growth, along with sectors such as justice and internal security," a Spanish foreign ministry statement read.

"The Union needs a budget for the coming years and it is desirable that an agreement be reached as quickly as possible on the basis of the Luxembourg proposal," Colonna said, addressing a gathering of Spanish ambassadors serving in EU states.

Colonna said France wanted to see a budget drawn up "on the basis of the Luxembourg proposal," which would freeze the British rebate over the 2007-2013 period and keep proposed spending levels for the period at 1.06 percent of gross national income.

The EU Commission would like to see spending lifted to 1.14 percent of GDP to cover last year's enlargement.

Moratinos stressed that "revising the CAP (the Common Agricultural Policy) is not opportune at the moment," saying Spain and France were of one view on the matter.

Colonna confirmed that for Paris the PAC "constitutes the basis of European construction."

The CAP affords multi-billion euro aid to EU farmers, with France the main beneficiary, but critics judge the system of subsidy highly inefficient.

However, Britain which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, has already rejected the Luxembourg proposal on the basis that it does not tackle CAP reform.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero also opposed the Luxembourg compromise, judging that it did not meet Spanish expectations.

Around half of the 25-nation bloc's spending goes on agriculture.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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