David Cameron, the self-proclaimed champion of budgetary restraint

Article published on Dec. 17, 2010
Article published on Dec. 17, 2010
By Anna-Karin Friis UK prime minister: ”A victory for common sense!” It is funny the way every single political leader that emerges from somewhere deep down in the maze of the Justus Lipsius building portray themselves as victorious. And rather confusing, because in order to get the full picture one would need to split up in 27 and get a gist of every political leader's impressions of what was said.

The British prime minister David Cameron thought common sense reigned over the pressure to increase next year's EU budget even more. Indeed so it would seem. Instead, the EU enjoys a 2,91% increase for next year mainly to raise its administrative expenditure, when most European governments cut expenditure on vital public services. This time around, David Cameron was busy laying the groundwork for the next EU budgetary framework that takes effect in 2014 and talking other European leaders into agreeing a real term freeze on EU expenditure for the rest of this decade. That reportedly does upset José Barroso, Commission president. So far, a number of European leaders, among them French president Sarkozy and German chancellor Merkel, have agreed to launch this initiative over the weekend together with Cameron by releasing a text on the need for the EU to exercise budgetary restraint.

”- The three biggest EU countries will stand united to make sure the budget does not get out of control", Cameron announced Friday.

The British prime minister was right in his remarks that the EU budget expenditure in the past only has been creeping upwards every single time it has been open for negotiation.

”-If pensions and welfare are reduced, should not EU spending be controlled?”, Cameron asked.

But Cameron did acknowledge today that it will be a long and hard campaign, indeed a battle against those governments who would benefit from an increase. A veritable war will again be waged over agricultural expenditure, with France defending the CAP and the Brits under Cameron taking a ”strong line” and insisting on the UK budgetary rebate. It remains to be seen whose stand emerges as victorious, or rather, how much of a Thatcherite Cameron proves to be; will he redo the legendary trick and claim his money back?