UK, Germans Say Deeper Cuts or No Deal in EU Budget
Britain and Germany warned on Friday there will be no summit deal on the European Union’s proposed 1 trillion euro long-term budget without deeper spending cuts, after the latest compromise plan ignored their calls for further restraint.
British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed a proposal to scale back tentative cuts to EU farm subsidies and regional aid to placate France and Poland, taking savings elsewhere to keep the overall budget cut at about 80 billion euros.
“It isn’t a time for tinkering,” he told reporters as he arrived for the second day of budget talks. “There hasn’t been the progress in cutting back proposals for additional spending.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she didn’t believe leaders would reach the unanimity needed to clinch a budget deal at this summit, but played down the consequences of failure.
“I have always said that it wouldn’t be dramatic if today were only the first step,” she told reporters. “I think the positions are still far apart and if we need a second round we will take the time to do it.”
But EU officials warned that failure would divert time and resources away from efforts to shore up the faltering euro zone, and reinforce the impression among citizens and investors that EU leaders suffer from collective indecision.
It would also delay the programming of hundreds of billions of euros in investments in transport and energy infrastructure in poorer ex-communist eastern members of the 27-nation bloc, meant to help them catch up economically with the richer west.