Saturday

22nd Feb 2020

Cameron defeated in EU budget vote

  • Cameron's hands tied ahead of budget summit (Photo: parliament.uk)

British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered an important defeat in parliament on Wednesday (31 October) when opposition Labour party MPs sided with eurosceptics in his own Conservative party to demand a reduction in the EU budget

MPs voted by 307 to 294 in favour of a Tory-rebel amendment calling for the 2014-2020 EU budget to be "reduced in real terms."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Ahead of the vote, Cameron portrayed himself as tough on Brussels but left wiggle-room to agree to an EU budget increase in line with 2 percent inflation.

"This government is taking the toughest line in these budget negotiations of any government since we joined the European Union," he said.

"At best we would like it cut, at worst frozen, and I'm quite prepared to use the veto if we don't get a deal that's good for Britain," he added.

The vote is not legally binding.

But it will make it politically more difficult for Cameron to make concessions when EU member states discuss the budget at a summit on 22 November.

For its part, the Guardian reported that some senior Conservatives did not back the amendment in order to spite Labour.

But the same grandees have threatened Cameron with a rebellion if he does not get EU spending down.

Meanwhile across the Channel, France added its name to the growing list of potential budget veto-wielders.

It said it is against a proposed cut to farm subsidies to bring down the overall cost of the €1 trillion package.

"France would not support a multi-annual budget that does not maintain the funds of the common agricultural policy," its EU affairs minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

The statement comes after the Cypriot EU presidency proposed a modest cut of €5 billion to the farm pot.

Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark are also - for differing reasons - waving the veto flag.

But poorer states in the east and south of Europe want spending to go up in line with European Commission and EU parliament ideas.

The challenge facing EU negotiators is not just whether the budget should be bigger or smaller but where the money should be spent.

The 27 member states are split into various groups - sometimes overlapping - which emphasize different priorities.

If the November summit ends without a deal, the deadline moves to next spring - the final moment to get the necessary EU legislation in place by 2014.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

EU leaders arriving at the Brussels summit criticised the budget proposal of EU Council president Charles Michel, as richer member states insisted holding onto their rebates, while poorer countries wanted to avoid deep cuts to their subsidies.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote

A trade deal with Vietnam sailed through the European Parliament's international trade committee and after its embassy sent MEPs bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne over Christmas.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us