British PM vows to fight EU budget rise

27th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Wednesday he would fight a planned 5.9 percent increase in the European Union's budget, calling it "completely unacceptable".

Cameron told parliament it was a "wrong" move as national governments made cutbacks to rein in deficits and deal with the financial crisis.

A two-day EU summit in Brussels kicks off on Thursday and Cameron said fighting the budget rise would be his priority.

"I think the greatest priority for Britain should be to fight very hard to get the EU budget under control," Cameron told lawmakers.

"It is completely unacceptable at a time when we are making tough budget decisions here we are seeing spending rise consistently in the European Union.

"I think that is wrong, and I am going to be doing everything I can to try and sort out the budget for next year, and then also look at the future financing of the European Union where we want to see strict controls.

"That, I think, should be our priority."

He added: "The European Parliament has insisted on a higher budget than the one set by the (European) Council, and the first thing is to say that is not acceptable and to build a majority on that Council to get that budget down again."

Ahead of the summit, debate was raging in the EU over whether key treaty provisions can or should be changed to avoid a repeat of the Greek debt crisis.

Cameron said on the topic: "This is an argument that is being put forward particularly by the Germans, that there is a new treaty clause needed to put the eurozone on a stronger footing.

"Clearly from our point of view we are not in the euro, we are not planning to join the euro, and so any treaty change wouldn't apply to us -- just as the new rules in terms of the stability and funding mechanism, we have always had a carve out from them."

© 2010 AFP

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