Germany rejects shelving EU summit over UK budget veto
AFP and AP
October 23, 2012, 12:01 am TWN
BERLIN -- Germany denied on Monday reports that it would cause to have a future EU summit on the bloc's seven-year budget scrapped if Britain threatened to veto a deal, and hinted it would push for a one-percent spending increase.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters that Berlin "explicitly rejects" a report in the Financial Times, according to which Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would "seek to cancel" the November summit if London stuck to its guns.
Britain said meanwhile it has not received any message from Germany that it would force the summit to be called off, but insisted that it does not see the case for an above-inflation spending hike.
Prime Minister David Cameron said after a summit of leaders last week: "It would not be acceptable to see a huge increase in spending when budgets are being cut."
Asked if he could veto the EU budget at the summit in November, Cameron replied: "The short answer is 'Yes.'"
Seibert said it was "in Germany's interest that this special summit in November succeeds."
"We are convinced that such an agreement would be a strong signal that Europe could send a signal that it is capable of acting and a signal for EU states in terms of their planning," Seibert said.
Berlin believes that the EU budget from 2014-2020 should promote "growth, jobs and competitiveness" and should also "reflect the tough consolidation efforts being made by member states" as eurozone countries slash debt levels.
Seibert said Germany was in favor of a "moderate" increase in the EU budget. When pressed, he said: "One percent would be moderate."
He went on to stress that talks were at an early stage and so negotiating positions remained fluid.