Despite all the hard work that is being put in by EU President Jean-Claude Junker, progress on the forthcoming EU budget seems like it might be agonizingly slow. In the first place Blair is in fighting mood:
“The UK rebate will remain. We will not negotiate it away. Period,”
In london the treasury seems equally determined:
“We would use the veto to preserve the rebate whenever necessary,” a Treasury spokesman told AFP. “Our rebate remains fully justified and it is not up for negotiation.”
Meanwhile, over at the European parliament:
MEPs have taken a stand on the future of EU spending as national capitals war over Brussels spending ahead of a June 16 summit of European leaders. The European Parliament has set out budget plans from 2007 to 2013 that are lower than original projections from the EU executive but higher than cost-cutting governments. The parliament backed a blueprint blueprint drawn up by German MEP Reimer B?ge by 426 votes to 140 against, with 122 abstentions. Brussels chief Jos? Manuel Barroso has welcomed the move which is ?150 billion more generous than maximum spends sought by some penny pinching national treasuries. ?The European Parliament has shown leadership and good sense by putting the policy needs of the EU first,? he said.