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Merkel keeps UK close as EU budget talks fail
Photo: DPA

Merkel keeps UK close as EU budget talks fail

Published: 24 Nov 2012 07:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Nov 2012 07:07 GMT+01:00

French President Francois Hollande said Friday that Germany "did not want to isolate Britain" during tough summit talks that failed to agree a seven-year budget for the European Union.

Hollande's comments came after British Prime Minister David Cameron met German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the second time in two days on Friday.

A British official said the German chancellor was "sympathetic" towards London's position. The talks quickly led to the duo being dubbed "Merkeron" or "Camerkel".

"Germany did not want to isolate the United Kingdom and France wanted cohesion countries, attached to growth policies and the common agricultural policy, to be heard," said Hollande.

So-called cohesion countries, led by Poland and Portugal, benefit from EU funds used to help poorer regions catch up economically and socially with more developed ones. Cohesion funds are the second biggest item of EU expenditure after agriculture subsidies.

But with the 27 leaders bitterly divided over spending policy, there was little hope that a deal on the trillion-euro budget could be reached at the two-day summit.

Cameron headed a group of austerity-driven nations demanding huge cuts in the budget, but Hollande said that maintaining Britain's rebate was Cameron's main concern.

Hollande said the British premier came to the talks with a "set priority" to "protect the British cheque" - or rebate - and showed no willingness to contribute to similar deals with other EU partners.

"I too could say that I want my discount," he said adding that Britain was a smaller net contributor to the EU budget than France.

Hollande said France and Germany, whose agreement is usually required in order for tough EU deals to finally break through, were at the "centre" of the negotiations.

"France and Germany played their role perfectly to advance Europe (though) without completing the deal today," he said, playing down talk of a failed summit.

"This council was useful" and was "a stage" towards finding a budget deal, Hollande said.

AFP/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:30 November 24, 2012 by bearded1
Britains stance is the right one,WHY should we spend more on the E.U. in these times of having to count the pfennige sorry cents.

Merkel needs to grow a pair and get on the side of Britain then maybe their could be some chance of saving this situation from going completly down the pan.

The way I see it is if we have to cut our costs at home then Brussels definitly has to follow suit,and they should start by cutting all the dishonesty fire anyone caught with their finger in the till, NO WAIT then there would be nobody in the E.U.Parliment
17:11 November 24, 2012 by london boy
Germany come with uk stand by us.
17:11 November 24, 2012 by Steve Potts
The EU experiment has failed. The only way forward is closer union, which no one but the die hard eurocrats want or a loser arangement where countries can use their own currencies and set their own spending agendas and interest rates. We need to go back to the Common Market.
19:52 November 24, 2012 by Al uk
Hollande and France already get a huge rebate, it's called the common agricultural policy which is so skewed in favour of the French there is nothing common about it.
20:33 November 24, 2012 by DOZ
Bye Bye Merkel. Soon the UK Lifeguards won't save your butt from the voters.
10:19 November 25, 2012 by nstaubach
Hollande said the British premier came to the talks with a "set priority" to "protect the British cheque" - or rebate - and showed no willingness to contribute to similar deals with other EU partners.

"I too could say that I want my discount," he said adding that Britain was a smaller net contributor to the EU budget than France.

I guess UK is becoming a problem child now, they don't contribute anything and wish for everything.....loosers!
13:10 November 26, 2012 by debster
nstaubach: 'I guess UK is becoming a problem child now, they don't contribute anything and wish for everything.....loosers!'

£53 million PER DAY actually for mass immigration. BTW, there's only 1 o in losers.
14:36 November 26, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
President Francois Hollande can go f**k himself.

Germany and the UK are the biggest net contibutors to the EU - fact.

@nstaubach you really have no clue whatsoever.
20:08 November 26, 2012 by Englishted
Why should there be a rise? ,austerity ,austerity,austerity .

How about working longer and only being in one place not two?

If they cut the waste there would be enough money to cut the contributions.

@nstaubach = knob.
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