Britain sees EU budget deal possible: PM's spokeswoman
British Prime Minister David Cameron believes a deal on the EU's budget can be struck at a summit in Brussels this week after he spoke to six European leaders, his spokeswoman said on Monday.
Over the weekend, Cameron spoke by telephone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande as well as the leaders of Sweden, Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands to discuss the budget negotiations.
He is expected to speak to more leaders this week before the summit starts on Thursday.
"The PM has been hitting the phone this weekend speaking to several European partners as we continue to work constructively to find a deal on the budget," Cameron's spokeswoman told reporters.
"In terms of the negotiations, we recognise that they are going to be tough," she added.
"And as we have been saying all along there are many priorities around the table.
"But there are good ideas of where we can do more to rein in spending that we have not fully explored, for example in reducing administrative spending.
"The prime minister believes that we can work through these details to get the right deal at this week's summit and we are ready to do that."
Cameron has said Britain is prepared to veto a new seven-year EU budget which increases spending in real terms, putting him on collision course with many of his European counterparts who back an iuncrease in spending.
In a speech to Britain's employers federation on Monday, Cameron said it was "simply not credible" to increase spending in the EU while Britain and other countries were being forced to introduce austerity measures at home.
"Back here in the UK, I have frozen some people's benefits, I've frozen some people's pay, I've cut some central budget by 30 percent. I've had to cut things like the police budget by 20 percent," he told the CBI conference.
"It's simply not credible to go to Europe and say, well we've made all these difficult decisions at home, but when it comes to the European budget we are going to see it go up and up and up."
© 2012 AFP