Published on 23 Nov 2012

UK wants to smash Barosso’s piggy bank

Britain's Prime Minister Cameron talks with Germany's Chancellor Merkel during European Union leaders summit in BrusselsAll the EU national leaders are in the room with Presidents Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barosso and have been in there since 11am British time. If it all collapses it could be Angela Merkel who decides there’s not enough sign of fast progress. It is thought she’s less than impressed with Van Rompuy’s dance of the seven veils drawn-out process and thinks last night’s revised budget should have moved things on a lot more than it did.

Britain feels there’s a painless (in national interest terms) way to settle this whole budget business. We’re 50bn euros adrift from what we think is our target budget total in a perfect world. We could settle for half of that, say, a cut of about 25bn euros in the payments total, by going for the European Commission’s pet projects and overheads. Britain would like to fillet the Connecting Europe budget for cross-border transport/energy/broadband links that has been Barosso’s pet project and which was set to quadruple in EU plans. Dig into that in a big way and add on the administration savings that David Cameron presented to an unhappy President Barosso yesterday and you could be at something around 25bn euros relatively quickly.

The European Commission would point out that huge work has gone into the “connections” projects and they are exactly the sort of thing the EU should be doing to add to economic growth and modernise spending. As for the admin costs defence, I mentioned that earlier. The UK view is that despite talk of the two of them being at each other’s throats over the years, President Van R has, on this one, allowed himself to get too close to President B.

It was a bit of a surprise to the UK to hear that at its “confessional” yesterday morning with the European Council President Van Rompuy, the man who must impartially broker the deal, there sitting next to him on the same side of the table was a man who looks to the UK like an interested party: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso. President Van R, the UK team feels, needs to turn on his Brussels partner to get the big deal. If he doesn’t, it won’t happen.

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4 reader comments

  1. Philip Edwards says:

    Gary,

    Tell you what……..why not get rid of our nuclear weapons of mass destruction that cost so much? You know, the ones we said Iraq and Iran had/have but aren’t there.

    As an example, the current Trident system cost £12.6bn (at 1996 prices) and costs £280m a year to maintain. Options for replacing Trident range from £5bn for the missiles alone to £20-30bn for missiles, submarines and research facilities. At minimum, for the system to continue after around 2020, the missiles will need to be replaced. And that’s just the tip of the cost iceberg.

    Just think what we could do with all that money!…..Schools, hospitals, enough housing for everybody, no need for “austerity.”

    Just think of the moral example we could set for those we say shouldn’t have WMD!

    Do you think the two-faced corrupt spivs and liars and war criminals in the Brit military-industrial complex and their bought-and-paid-for politicians will go for it? No? I wonder why…….

  2. Russell T Taylor says:

    This is never going to work, The billions we spend on the Euro, for them to give to other Countries, so they can either waste it or spend it by the bacdoor, these countries are ameess for a good reason, they cant help themselves they no no better, and dont want to learn any better, its like trying to get a junky off dope, its a public waste of tax payers money, we could do better building our own infrastructures and improving what we have rather than waste money on The Euro. The Euro is never going to be The States theres to much variation in Language, cultures and acceptable attitudes to Trade and Taxes.

    1. Philip says:

      What an incredibly arrogant comment to make about other countries! I suppose you have rigorous evidence to support what you’ve said here? Many of the EU countries are former Soviet bloc who have been facing immense modernisation problems. I know because I’ve worked there. Their people are considerably poorer than ours & without our generous pensions & benefits net. In view of the dodgy bankers (in the UK rather than much of EU), expenses-looting politicians, tax avoiding rich/multinationals and unethical press, what have we got to talk about anyway? Go to Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, etc & compare efficient economies & decent social systems to UK. Uncorrupt too.

  3. H. Kueppers says:

    the comments made by Russel T Taylor are those of the typical Brit who extracts his information from the british papers. I do agree though that taxpayers’ money should have been used to improve trhe infastructure, alas it was wasted on military posturing……

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