Coffee House

Why David Cameron isn’t proposing a cut in the EU budget

29 October 2012

Cutting the EU budget is a very good idea. Much of it is spent inefficiently and its priorities are all wrong, 40 percent of it goes on agriculture. Given that a cut would also be popular with voters, why doesn’t David Cameron propose one?

The reason is that there’s virtually no chance of getting agreement to it. If there’s no agreement, the EU will move to annual budgets decided by qualified majority voting—stripping Britain of its veto.

But Labour’s tactical positioning in calling for an EU budget cut has been, as Isabel said earlier, extremely clever. It has left Cameron defending a complicated position which puts him on the wrong side of public opinion and many of his own MPs. It has also reduced the political impact of any Cameron veto, as he’ll now look rather like he’s been pushed into it.

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  • perdix

    Labour forced through the Lisbon Treaty which says that if no agreement on the budget can be made it will increase by 2%. Since there will never be unanimous agreement to cut the budget Labour supported a Treaty which ensures that the budget can never be cut! Total hypocrisy by Liebour!

  • chevronix

    55m per day? That is 77m per weekday. Or enough for 1.5m minimum-wage jobs, which (on the first iteration) would itself save enough for another 400k jobs from saved JSA. Ok, a bit simplistic, but surely that level of added (admittedly public-sector) employment would outweigh any short-term losses from an EU exit?

  • Barbara Stevens

    I cannot understand Cameron at all, he talks different over the channel than here. That will not do. Most of his backbenchers are not in agreement with his stance, about 90, and now some Labour MPs too. He said he would not agree to an increase in the budget, and now says only an inflation amount he would support. They won’t accept either but just do it anyhow. We will be expected to pay up. However, he could show some statesmanship by saying NO and meaning it, and then exiting the meeting, with the final warning he will set a referendum for remaining in. This nation, a majority, would walk with him. The loss of the 55 million pounds per day could be the turning point, if they want an increase so much they must need all the money the can get. Of course, exiting would please many including me. Cameron, needs to see how this nation is really thinking and try to be in unison with it, at the moment he’s not. If he fails he might not be a PM again. Denying people the right to choose their own destiny is a serious mistake; and imposing a regime upon a nation against their will is wrong. It can only lead to problems and disengagement further down the line. Cameron is not learning from his own mistakes.

    • retundario

      Obviously, politicians will choose to remain in a position where they can exert at least some influence over the EU’s direction, as opposed to being in a position of no power whatsoever. The reality is that it is a massive block right next to us so it will always greatly affect our

  • dalai guevara

    Because a freeze is actually a like-for-like reduction if you consider the true rate of inflation, not the one politicians want to make us believe.

  • Daveee12

    Announce a referendum then we can tell Europe were to stick it. We do know that the the Euro skeptics are guaranteed to vote, unlike many of the Europhiles, that’s a good 5% or so.

    I will still not be voting Tory with Cameron or Hague in charge so he will be history in a year or 2 anyway.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Why isn’t Cameron proposing a cut in the EU Budget?
    Because he’s an EUphile who is determined to keep the UK in the EU – and paying for it.
    He needs a good kicking in the ballot-box and UKIP is aiming to administer it in 2014.

    • HooksLaw

      Is the UK budget being cut?

  • ScaryBiscuits

    James, this argument from the Cameroons is typical of their pre-emptive defeat negotiating strategy (also used with the LibDems).

    You could easily counter the supposed EU threat that if they move towards qualified majority voting on the budget then Britain will move closer to exiting altogether. Anyway, the German Constitutional Court has repeatedly ruled that its national Parliament may not enter into unspecific or open-ended agreements to pay regarding the bailout fund and the same principle would apply here. So there is no chance of moving towards majority voting on the budget until new treaties are written, which would require a referrendum here anyway and so isn’t a prospect this side of 2015.

    So, yet again, we are left with an argument from No10 that doesn’t stand up to a moment’s reflection and yet more of the incompetence that is eating away at support for Cameron’s leadership.

  • David V Smith

    There is one veto that will always be open to us. Just don’t hand over the money. What are they going to do? Invade?

    • alexsandr

      Surely parliament has to approve the payments. If the motion fails then what?

    • ScaryBiscuits

      They would issue an EU arrest warrant.

    • Trev

      They already have.

    • HellforLeather

      The EU has not had its accounts signed off for how many years now?

      That in itself is a reasonable explanation for Britain to pull back, and say: “Hang on. We will not pour more good money after bad. Sort out the accounts, and we will consider the position as it then stands.”

  • HooksLaw

    When did labour last cut the budget? Or anything? The last thing they cut was our rebate. There is nothing clever about labour’s positioning.

    The EU is inefficient and the point about the CAP is pertinent. The EU does not need so much of a budget cut as a budget reorganisation.

    • Boudicca_Icenii

      Actually, it needs both.

    • HellforLeather

      And how would you propose the budget be reorganised, while protecting it against cuts (which you imply should be the case)?

      In just the same way that the UK budget is inefficient, they could collectively just borrow more to spend more? This government is spending and borrowing in a way that Gordon Brown could only have dreamed about.

      How about, just for starters? Scrapping the dual EU parliament system — totally unnecessary, except for usual national/vanity stakes. That would cut it, not so, for a start? The menu for cuts is never-ending, after that.

      • HooksLaw

        We can change the CAP for a start. But yes, why, apart from regional aid does the EU need a budget at all?
        The reality is it has one and its the business of 27 countries to manage it, not just ours.

  • A Thin Man

    James Forsyth: the only thing in this hemisphere carrying more water than Hurricane Sandy.

    • HooksLaw

      Change your christmas cracker supplier

  • Tony Johnson

    Cameron loves Europe, Gold plateing and all that. Legislation via the back door. Tony Blair’s Apprentice. A Socialist who is takeing us to where Greece is now then he can have the top EU job.

    • HooksLaw

      Are the govt education or health policies socialist, or its welfare policies? If you start from a warped version of the truth its no wonder you are incapable of rational analysis.

      • Tony Johnson

        Welfare Policies are what we want and need if we are to come together as a Nation. The Three party System has a big credibility problem, Voyers don’t know who or what to believe any more. So analyse that please?

  • DaVeto

    It’s our money so we can exercise our veto under treaty law. There is a chance that other states would support a reduction in the EU budget but even if they don’t we should set an example to the proliferate members.

  • @PhilKean1

    A perpetually increasing EU budget

    – is required to enable a perpetually expanding and Federating EU.

    I hope Britain can escape this dictatorial EU nightmare before nationalist extremists start taking direct action.

  • Vulture

    Doesn’t matter that Labour is being steamingly hypocritical. What matters is that the head of steam builds against the EU-diktat.
    Doesn’t matter how ‘isolated’ Britain appears in Europe. When everyone’s out of step except us that should be a matter of pride – and the EU is currently marching over a cliff.
    Does matter that the ‘Conservative’ party is led by a slavish Europhile out of the Heath-Brittain-Heseltine-Clarke-Patten stable. Anything that embarrasses him is fine by me.

    • NeilMc1

      Well said Vulture. If only Cameron had a fraction of the courage that you have mentioned. And the word ‘Pride’ is not in his lexicon.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Surrender is not in fact a complicated position.

    • telemachus

      If we are net contributors and pull out we are better off-no?
      That is not complicated either

    • HellforLeather

      Cameron’s “complicated position” is that the electorate have well and truly seen through him and his cohorts since that “cast-iron” guarantee.

      The five-letter word “trust”, when alluded to by or on behalf of this government, is as toxic as any four-letter expletive one might choose to direct at any other party.

      And, to put that into context, I voted for his lousy lot last time.

      • HellforLeather

        Isabel, you say the political impact of a Cameron veto will make it “look rather like he’s been pushed into it”.

        Is that not the point of public opinion? Is that not what public opinion polls have shown for the last couple of years?

        How come he’s defied the overwhelming public feeling for that long? Because he’s simply out of touch, and hoping to slime his way out of this one as well. He should have learned by now, that public opinion can/will count.

        Apologies for revisiting this issue, I should have been clear on this beforee.

  • dorothy wilson

    Milliminor is becoming too clever by half. He’ll meet himself coming back before too long!

    • davebush999

      no, what it shows is that Milliband is a lot cleverer than some think, and certainly brighter than Dave ‘nice but dim’

  • Bruce, UK

    Article 50

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