Focusing on the size of the EU budget is side-lining the wider issue of what it is spent on

The outcome of the EU budget summit last week was not as bad as it could have been. Cameron did not wield his veto, as he was threatening to just a few days before. And while EU Leaders did not reach a final agreement, progress was made towards reaching a compromise at the next Council meeting in early 2013. Crucially, the UK was able to drum up support for a real-terms freeze amongst like-minded member states such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. This is in stark contrast to our self-imposed isolation following Cameron’s blocking of EU-wide treaty change last December.

However, Cameron’s focus on preventing a rise in spending is side-lining the wider issue of EU budget reform. Continue reading

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To get the best deal on the EU budget we must engage with our natural allies

Although the Commons vote on the EU budget isn’t binding, the Government is now under pressure to make demands that simply cannot be met. Calling for a real-terms cut in the EU budget would not only be unrealistic, but would undermine the government’s ability to negotiate effectively and reach a much-needed compromise with other member states. Continue reading