• Germany's news in English

Merkel joins Cameron to push EU to trim budget

The Local · 8 Feb 2013, 19:17

Published: 08 Feb 2013 16:39 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2013 19:17 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Deal done! Worth waiting for," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy wrote on the online message service Twitter.

Negotiating for nearly 26 hours with little break, Merkel, backed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, led a sustained push for the EU budget for 2014-2020 to share in the austerity national governments are facing. The tentative agreement would trim spending by three percent over the rest of the decade.

"In my opinion this is a good deal and it is important," said Merkel. "The effort was rewarded."

France, along with Italy, fought to protect spending it sees as essential to boost growth and jobs at a time of record unemployment, but indications early Friday were that Paris could live with the deal.

"It is not a fantastic compromise deal but it is acceptable," said a French diplomatic source.

A draft deal sets the 2014-20 actual spending or "payments" at €908.4 billion ($1.2 trillion), with an absolute ceiling of €960 billion for spending "commitments" to the budget.

The latest figures would represent a 3.0 percent cut from the 2007-13 budget and were less than the €973 billion that Cameron and northern EU allies such as the Netherlands rejected at a budget summit in November that collapsed without any deal.

In the EU budget process, commitments refer to the maximum amount that can be allocated to programmes while actual spending or "payments" is usually lower as projects are delayed or dropped.

Originally, the European Commission had wanted a 5.0 percent increase in commitments to €1.04 trillion ($1.4 trillion) – about one percent of the EU's total gross domestic product.

After a six-hour delay Thursday, leaders thrashed out the details overnight before breaking in the morning.

Amid the cuts, they also managed to find €6 billion for a new fund to tackle youth unemployment. Jobless numbers across the EU are currently over 26 million, with nearly three out of five under the age of 25 out of work in Spain and Greece.

But there is another important hurdle still to clear – the European Parliament must approve the deal and lawmakers have already made clear they are in no mood for more austerity.

Story continues below…

Parliament head Martin Schulz said bluntly on Thursday that he and the assembly would not accept a budget which would compromise EU programmes and undercut its future. "That's called a deficit. I won't sign a deficit budget anymore," he said.

The draft showed key budget areas – the Common Agricultural Policy support payments to farmers and Cohesion Funds, a crucial source of money for new EU members seeking to catch up with their peers – to be largely untouched compared with the November figures.

But plans to use €40 billion to leverage private investment in cross-border energy, transport and digital networks was slashed by a quarter and EU administrative expenditures were cut as well. Some of the roughly 35,000 EU civil servants have already begun strike action over fears they will lose their jobs and the perks.

AFP/DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:20 February 8, 2013 by Englishted
Still too high .
18:04 February 8, 2013 by yllusion
They also should reduce the number of politicians there doing nothing but getting a nice salary, and stop with this Brussels Luxembourg Strasbourg nonsense.
20:21 February 8, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
Yes you are quite right. Europe was good idea, but, it has turned into an enormous head without a brain. It is a sure sign that something has seriously gone wrong, when even politicians are beginning to realise how dangerous the waste of taxpayers money can be. Usually these heads of state have no conscience themselves, when it comes to spending other peoples cash, so we can be thankful that (hopefully), they are beginning to wake up. Why for example do we pay for industrial and scientific research, but when something new is discovered or invented, the profits pass into private hands.

The EU budget could, by cutting unnecessary expenditure be more than halved. Many of the laws and regulations, (just think of the regulated size and shape of apples and cucumbers), make no sense whatsoever, but cause tremendous costs in production and handle. The only real way to deal with the increase of size of and wastage in, this bureaucratic monster, is for the member states to reduce the parliament and civil-servants employed by 50% and to insist that for every new regulation two older ones be cancelled.
00:26 February 9, 2013 by Brint
I notice that Angela and Dave appear to be sticking close together lately, I know I'll get flak for even daring to suggest it, but in my view I believe that if two countries in Europe should really get on and work well together as natural allies then it would be Britain and Germany.

"Britain becomes Germany's biggest trade partner as Berlin-London pact deepens."

"Britain has overtaken France to become Germany¦#39;s biggest global trade partner for the first time in the modern era, solidifying the emergence of a ¦quot;special relationship¦quot; between Europe¦#39;s two like-minded northern powers."

07:18 February 9, 2013 by McM
A step in the right direction at last. Some pragmatic outcomes and at last a willingness by some leaders to tackle the sacred cow mindset in Brussels that has been and,still is pushing for unrealistic open cheques from member countries. Who by the way,are not in the position to dish out so much money to Herr Shultz and the snouts in the trough free lunch club that can't see beyond their cosy EU office and perks. If the EU can't handle review and change of itself it not viable in the flexible world with live in.
08:54 February 9, 2013 by Zubair Khan
When British PM made historic speech on the future of EU it revealed him a visionary leader. Leaders of such clear thinking and vision are seldom born in history. Again he proved himslef a legend in EU budget matter. Even iron lady of Germany found no other way but to agree. Though to save her face the Local reporting the news differently. It reported in following words,¦quot;Deal done! Worth waiting for,¦quot; European Council President Herman Van Rompuy wrote on the online message service Twitter.Negotiating for nearly 26 hours with little break, Merkel, backed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, led a sustained push for the EU budget for 2014-2020 to share in the austerity national governments are facing. The tentative agreement would trim spending by three percent over the rest of the decade.¦quot;In my opinion this is a good deal and it is important,¦quot; said Merkel. ¦quot;The effort was rewarded.¦quot; Those who have close eyes on the situation know it well it is the British PM who gets credit for this bold, clear and visionary stand. Well done British PM David Cameron you are the real champion of EU.
09:46 February 10, 2013 by Englishted
4 net payers and 23 net gainers ,it is rather strange it passed at all.
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd