Saturday, 24 November 2012
Cameron leads a Nordic alliance of budget cutters - including Germany
EUROPE’S problems deepened last night when a budget summit collapsed and David Cameron blasted Eurocrats for living “in a parallel universe”.
The two-day meeting of the EU’s 27 leaders to set spending for the next seven years broke up in bitterness with no agreement.
Instead, rich Northern countries were left pitted against the penniless South in one of the worst splits in the union’s six decade history.
Backed by Italy, Spain and France, Brussels mandarins refused to slash the €971billion (£786bn) package further.
That forced the PM, at the head of a new group of spending hawks, to throw it out.
In a major breakthrough for the once-isolated Mr Cameron, he recruited powerful German leader Angela Merkel to back his defiant stand.
Support ... Angela Merkel
The duo were joined in their new alliance by the leaders of the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
The group, all big EU contributers, laid down a “very clear marker” for far bigger cuts, the PM insisted last night. Lashing out at EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy and commission boss Jose Manuel Barroso, Mr Cameron said: “Brussels continues to exist as if it is in a parallel universe. The EU institutions have simply got to adjust to the real world.
“Freezing the budget is not an extreme position, it is eminently reasonable.
“The idea that EU institutions are unwilling to even consider these sorts of changes is insulting to European taxpayers.”
Explaining his alliance, the PM added: “We had a clear message. We are not going to be tough on budgets at home to come here and sign up to big increases in European spending.”
The Eurocrats refused to listen to his demand for a €10billion (£8bn) cut from their €56billion (£45bn) admin budget — and angled for a €7billion (£5.6bn) rise. Mr Cameron revealed they “didn’t offer a single euro in savings.”