Thursday

23rd Sep 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe 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.

Luxembourg tax scandal may prompt EU action

An investigation into Luxembourg's tax regime has uncovered how the Italian mafia, the Russian underworld, and billionaires attempt to stash away their wealth. The European Commission has put itself on standby amid suggestions changes to EU law may be needed.

News in Brief

  1. French ambassador to return to US after Macron-Biden call
  2. Borrell: EU needs armed force independent of US
  3. Polish region does U-turn on gay rights
  4. Johnson makes fun of French anger on submarine deal
  5. Ukraine vows 'tough response' after gun attack on top aide
  6. Poland again delays ruling on primacy of EU law
  7. EU to table emergency proposals on gas-price surge
  8. EU delays first set of anti-greenwashing rules

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. More French names linked to Russia election-monitoring
  2. Negotiations set for new, tougher, EU ethics body
  3. Lead energy MEP silent on gas meetings before vote
  4. WHO makes major cut in 'safe' air-pollution levels
  5. EU negotiators defend high Covid vaccines prices paid to pharma
  6. The EU's 'backyard' is not in the Indo-Pacific
  7. French MEPs lead bogus EU monitoring of Russia vote
  8. Europeans think new 'Cold War' is here - but not for them

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us