David Cameron is in Brussels for the latest talks on a proposed increase in the European budget. He arrived well ahead of the other EU leaders. Speaking briefly to the media ahead of the talks he certainly looked stoney faced and ready to do business. Whether he will manage to achieve his aims is a hard one to predict.
The EU budget is a complicated affair. Many would say that it operates by using "smoke and mirrors" The budget takes into account subsidies and rebates it agrees with various countries. For example what can sometimes be a sticking point for France is ts agricultural subsidies. As a country with large rural areas and many farmers it is a major concern for the French.
Former French Prime Minister Sarkozy fought tooth and nail to protect agricultural subsidies. Like other leaders attempting to protect their own countries he used all means includes threats. David Cameron make look as if he is determined to secure the right deal for the UK today but will or can he stick to his guns??
The UK is a member of the EU but not signed up to the failing Euro and the Eurozone. Whilst most people in the UK are glad of that it does give Cameron the amount of leverage he may need. A proposed compromise plan for the EU budget will see Britain's rebate slashed to the core. Mr Cameron is adamant that is not good enough. As he arrived for the Brussels sumit PM Cameron said,
"These are very important negotiations. Clearly at a time when we are making difficult decisions at home over public spending it would be quite wrong – it is quite wrong – for there to be proposals for this increased extra spending in the EU."So we are going to be negotiating very hard for a good deal for Britain's taxpayers, for Europe's taxpayers, and to keep the British rebate."
At stake is the UKs €3.6bn (£2.9bn) annual rebate, This figure is already less than it was. It continues to be cut presumably to help prop up the failing EU. Other member States will have their own important agendas and proposed targets.
As leaders arrive in Brussels they will meet with European Commission president José Manuel Barroso and Van Rompuy, the summit chairman. The pre-summit meetings are an important part of the negotiations.
Done deals behind closed doors? You scratch my back and I will scratch yours? Arriving first gives Cameron lead position in the queue. Tonight over Dinner the talks get underway.
The budget is a complicated affair. You can read more of the details here at the Guardian.
The EU has yet to agree next years budget and these latest talks involve the 2014-2020 budgets. Van Rompuy has proposed changes which will see countries such as the UK digging deeper into its pockets.
Former PM Maggie Thatcher dreamed of a larger EU encompassing many countries. Her dream has come true and turned into a nightmare. Many of the newest members of the EU have severe financial problems. So do the estabished countires come to that.
PM Cameron knows there is a lot at stake. The Tory Party has already employed one man who will be vital to the party's next election campaign. However apart from losing votes failing to secure the right rebate and EU budget for the UK will cost the country dear. We cannot afford that, can we?.
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
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