21st November 2012
The Prime Minister will be arriving in Brussels later this week for key talks on the EU’s next 7-year budget. With the European Commission demanding a 5% increase above inflation, these negotiations will be no easy feat. Net EU contributors, such as the UK and the Netherlands, want a freeze in the EU budget. Net EU recipients, such as Poland and Hungary, don’t want their precious regional cohesion funds to be reduced. France, meanwhile, certainly won’t let its farmers suffer a reduction in agricultural funding.
As these negotiations head towards gridlock, we hear that the EU is trying to sidestep the UK’s power of veto by coming to an agreement amongst the other 26 EU Member States. It is important to remember that our veto holds just as much weight as everyone else’s. One nation, one veto. The veto is in place for a reason – budget decisions such as these are a matter of national sovereignty. Given that the UK puts more into the EU pot than it gets out of it, there is no way that we can be left out of negotiations on how much money will be spent over the next 7 years.
We know that the Prime Minister is not afraid to wield the veto. If the EU’s political elite think that they can carry on with a budget increase regardless of what the British public want, then he should wield it again.