Sweden says Britain's EU budget deal not restrictive enough

17th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Friday he would not sign onto Britain's drive to restrict European Union spending as it was not far reaching enough, Swedish public radio reported.

"We see (the initiative) as a bit unclear and from Sweden's perspective not budget-restrictive enough," Reinfeldt said of a text hammered out by Britain, France and Germany, among others, stating their stance against overspending in the bloc, to be presented Saturday.

Ahead of tough budget negotiations next year, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other unnamed partners will publish a text Saturday stating their stance against overspending.

Finland and the Netherlands are joining that declaration, said Finnish President Mari Kiviniemi.

After twisting the parliament's arm into submission to limit the 2011 budget to a 2.9 percent increase to 126.5 billion euros -- instead of a six percent rise -- Cameron said the bloc's "big three" wanted to do "even better" in 2012 and 2013.

And for the 27-nation bloc's 2014-2020 budgetary period, the leaders will call for a real-terms freeze, meaning it could not rise above inflation, he said.

"This is an attempt by a group of countries to emphasise that the EU's budget cannot grow too much. Our opinion is that even the possibility for budget growth the signing countries open for goes too far," Reinfeldt told public radio.

Asked if this meant Sweden wanted deeper budget cuts, he said "it is rather that we don't want (the budget) to grow as much as their description could entail."

© 2010 AFP

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