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Prime minister says 'complex' EU budget may not be agreed

Thursday 22 November 2012

Prime minister Mark Rutte warned on Thursday he is not sure European leaders will reach agreement on the EU's next multi-year budget, saying the talks will be a 'real battle'.

'We want a budget which is modern and sober, and, as the Netherlands, to keep the rebate we have,' Rutte told reporters on his arrival in Brussels.

The Dutch parliament sent Rutte to the crucial two-day EU summit with two mandates: to cap the EU’s spending plans and ensure the €1bn Dutch rebate continues.

Spending increase

The European Commission wants to increase the EU’s budget by 5% or €1bn, but the Netherlands, Britain and other western European countries are opposed to this.

Parliament on Wednesday debated the Dutch approach to Europe, with a majority of MPs calling for a reduction in the EU’s multi-year spending plans. They say at a time when EU countries are being forced to make painful spending cuts, it is hard to justify an increase in the budget for Brussels.

MPs also want the prime minister to press for the Dutch contribution rebate of €1bn to continue. The measure was agreed in 2005 but is due to expire in 2014, when the EU’s new seven-year budget comes into force.

Loaded gun

Asked what he thought of British prime minister David Cameron's threat to use his veto, Rutte said he believed 'you should keep a loaded gun in your pocket'. 'If you put it on the table, you will put the talks under such pressure that you won't get anywhere, Rutte said.

'I do not know if we will reach an agreement now. It is very complex,' Rutte said. 'But I have stressed to my European colleagues that if we can't manage it in one go, we must not allow the atmosphere between us to degenerate... let us keep calm and start again in January.'

More on this
BBC Q&A on the two-day summit

Your thoughts on the EU budget? Use the comment box below.

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Readers' comments (3)

Just keep the printers at Joh. Enschedé working overtime but keep that secret, soon have that extra billion, after all, wouldn't want to have a loss of face with our member states or disappoint Barroso & Van Rompuy..

...it's all for the greater good right? :P

By The visitor | November 22, 2012 4:27 PM

Prime minister says 'complex' EU budget may not be agreed. The three EU Musketeers may use such as a tactic to have an emergency budget above the inflation rate so as to avoid agreeing to a reduced budget as demanded by Britain.

By Terence Hale | November 22, 2012 6:06 PM

I like Mr Rutte, I wish he would teach a few things to our pathetic "Dithering Dave"...

By Marco | November 22, 2012 10:59 PM

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