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Budget 'not good enough'

Budget 'not good enough'
The deal offered by the European Union was "just not good enough" David Cameron said today, as the seven-year budget talks collapsed.

Speaking to reporters after negotiations broke down, the Prime Minister said there had been “a good discussion” but the deal on the table was “just not good enough”, and added that the opinion was shared by the other net contributors to the Union.

Freezing the budget would have been “eminently reasonable” he said, and “would not result in hardship for any member states”.

There were “no excuses” for failing to cut the Union’s administration costs, he continued, and accused Brussels of being in a “parallel universe”, with at least 200 employees earning more than he did.

He suggested possible savings including a 10% cut in overall pay saving €3bn and relaxing the rules on automatic promotion to save €1.5bn. “Last night the Commission did not offer a single euro in savings,” he added.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said Mr Cameron had "failed to persuade" the other EU countries to deliver a cut in spending and accused him of being "weak and isolated" abroad and at home.

"David Cameron has failed to persuade other European leaders to deliver the reform of and real terms cut in the Budget which MPs voted for," he said.

"He is increasingly weak and isolated in Europe, just as he is at home. The Prime Minister needs to start building alliances if he is to deliver a good deal for British taxpayers and for the future of the European Union."

The EU president Herman Van Rompuy said that he had listened to the heads of all member states and had drafted his budget proposals accordingly.

"Yesterday, I carefully listened to all my colleagues and I put a new proposal on the table", he said.

He added that that all member states recognised that this must be a budget that focused on growth, saying: "Everybody also agrees that this must be a budget for growth, a budget that focuses on jobs, on innovation, on research."

But he accepted that there were differences of opinion that had made a deal impossible in this round of negotiations.

"We need some more time to finalise the solution. This is a budget for the rest of the decade and next the seven years will be crucial to put Europe back on the path of recovery and growth.

"So we must get it right."

Leaders will have a final opportunity to agree a deal in the new year.

Speaking on Any Questions tonight, Tory MP Mark Reckless said the Prime Minister "spoke for the nation".

Green Box: Budget 'not good enough'Click to open

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