In what some misguided people are calling a ‘victory for austerity’ the EU budget is to only be increased by 2% as opposed to the 5% that it has been arguing for.
According to the BBC ‘EU negotiators settled for 2% after 15 hours of talks ending in the early hours of Saturday morning.’ This trims a bit from what the European Parliament wanted (5.2%) and the 4.9% that the Commission called for.
The UK government has called this an ‘excellent’ result and Mark Hoban MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said "We have stopped the European Commission and European Parliament's inflation-busting proposals and have delivered on the government's promise to freeze the EU budget in real terms."
But the EU has now warned that it may well run out of money.
The EU Budget Commissioner who had originally asked for 4.9%, Janusz Lewandowski, said "This is clearly an austerity budget, as most member states are in the midst of a serious financial crisis. There is now a serious risk that the European Commission will run out of funds in the course of next year, and will therefore not be able to honour all its financial obligations towards beneficiaries of EU funds."
But while the contributions to the EU have been limited to â‚¬129 billion next year with this 2% rise, governments have given in to the European Parliament, which has demanded the ability to spend up to â‚¬147 billion, which is where the spending black hole could come from. We’re drowning in debt and this would just mean more.
But since when has it been a ‘victory’ for austerity when Brussels forces us to give it 2% and some UK government departments are having to lop huge percentages off their budgets leading to the threats to jobs, businesses and livelihoods. Why should the EU budget be frozen in real terms when everyone else is having real terms cuts?
And as to 15 hours of ‘negotiation’, that sounds more like a ‘cave-in’ to me. Maybe with a few more hours we could have got a budget reduction from them.
The government in the UK has been staring the threat of public sector strikes in the face for months. Let’s see them do a deal with the unions in 15 hours. It won’t happen.
Why can’t we talk real hardball with the EU gravy train and pig troughers?