No 10 seeks EU budget freeze

The Government is seeking "at best a cut, at worst a freeze" in the European Union budget negotiations this week, No 10 has said. The CBI president has urged ministers not to forget "our old friends in Europe".

Latest ITV News reports

No 10: 'We will protect our EU rebate'

by - Former Political Correspondent
EU budget: David Cameron greeting the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, outside Downing Street last year
David Cameron greeting the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, outside Downing Street last year Credit: PA

The Prime Minister spoke to the European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and his Irish and Czech counterparts on the phone last night to try to work towards a deal on the EU budget.

A Number 10 spokesman said Mr Van Rompuy updated David Cameron on his discussions with other leaders.

The PM set out his view that EU spending cannot be discussed without reference to cuts back here in Britain.

Downing Street says he believes that Mr Van Rompuy is taking a step in the right direction, but believes further cuts can be made.

On the issue of the UK rebate, Number 10 confirmed it was in the proposals set out by the European Commission and revised by Van Rompuy, but he reiterated that it was not up for negotiation, adding: "We will protect our rebate. We think it's fully justified."

Tory MP calls for two national votes on Europe

David Davis speaking to Conservative Home this lunchtime.
David Davis speaking to Conservative Home this lunchtime. Credit: Twitter: @TimMontgomerie

Tory MP David Davis has intensified his campaign for Britain to have a referendum on Britain's relationship with the EU.

The Eurosceptic MP is calling for two national votes on the issue: one to approve a list of powers for the UK to seek to seize back, and another 'in-out' poll.

Speaking to Conservative Home, Mr Davis said the majority of Tory MPs are Eurosceptics, and the majority of the public want to see Britain take back "significant powers." He said:

"We must repatriate justice, immigration, social and employment laws, health and safety and financial regulation."

"Over 90% of Tory MPs are now Eurosceptics....70% of British people would vote for repatriation of significant powers."

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Miliband: I will not let Britain sleepwalk towards an EU exit

Labour leader Ed Miliband addressing the CBI
Labour leader Ed Miliband addressing the CBI Credit: ITV News

Labour leader said the rise of Euroscepticism within the UK was causing "alarm" with partners across the bloc. He said being part of Europe was good for British business, and any exit would be a betrayal of the national interest:

"I will not let Britain sleepwalk to an exit from the European Union, it would be bad for prosperity"

He said the "reasons for scepticism are real" and it was up to leaders to tackle the questions raised about the problems of the single currency:

"Scepticism about the euro and the project undermines the case for the wider European Union"

Cameron 'sees possible deal on EU budget'

The Prime Minister's spokeswoman said David Cameron does believe a deal can be reached on the European Union budget, due to be discussed during a summit this Thursday in Brussels. The spokeswoman said:

We're in negotiations in the run up to the European Council. We think we can agree a deal. The Prime Minister believes we can work through these details to get the right deal at this week's summit and we are ready to do that.

Mr Cameron has called for a real terms freeze for the 2014-2020 budget, and has threatened to use Britain's veto to stop any agreement that is "not in the interests of British taxpayers."

The spokeswoman said the Government was still seeking "at best a cut, at worst a freeze" in the budget.

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Cameron hits the phones ahead of EU budget summit

by - Deputy Political Editor
A library photo of David Cameron on the phone
A library photo of David Cameron on the phone Credit: Press Association

Prime Minister David Cameron hit the phones over the weekend, as the EU budget summit closes in. He spoke to his counterparts in Poland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Apart from Poland, all those countries on Cameron's phone logs are net contributors to the EU budget.

Mr Cameron will push for a freeze in the budget when the 27 members meet on Thursday in Brussels.

Cameron's answer on Europe?

by - Former Business Editor

So the PM was put on the spot by someone from the German embassy who asked how did the UK intend to keep close ties with the EU?

Well he made two robust defences of what has been achieved by the union and the UK's involvement in it - the single market and the enlargement of the EU to 27 countries.

Prime Minister David Cameron at the CBI today.
Prime Minister David Cameron at the CBI today. Credit: Press Association

But on the EU budget? A very firm defence of his position. He said it is not being a 'bad European' to protest at increases in the EU budget while cutting at home, and called for more scrutiny of the work and spending of the EU Commission.

He knows the negotiations on this will be tough. But as the Westminster and Brussels debate over the budget grinds on there is no sign of the PM shifting his stance.

PM 'makes no apologies' for promoting UK interests in Europe

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was important to be "more positive" about the successes of the European Union, but that he made "no apologies" for standing up for Britain's interests. He said:

"I don't think it makes you a bad European because you ought to have a tough budget settlement in Europe, I think it makes you a good European, I feel I have the people of Europe on our side, we should stop endlessly picking their pockets and spending more and more money"

PM: 'Simply not credible' to increase EU budget at time of cuts

by - Former Business Editor

The Prime Minister is put on the spot by someone from the German embassy.

David Cameron says "we should be more positive" about the success of the single market.

He says he makes no apology for standing up for UK interests in Europe; it is "simply not credible" to make cuts at home and increase the EU budget.

That "does not make you a bad European", he insists. He calls for more focus on how the European Commission spends its money.

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