David Cameron's allies for EU budget belt-tightening include Sweden and the Netherlands, who have both demanded financial cuts.
Germany, France, Finland and Austria want to freeze the maximum Brussels can draw from member states every year.
Poland lead 15 countries who are asking for budget increases - not least to preserve the scale of cash aid they receive as "net beneficiaries" from the EU kitty.
The Prime Minister's performance at this EU summit has been interesting and it hints at a more tactical engagement with Europe.
The Prime Minister has hit out at EU institutions for not going far enough to rein in spending as budget talks were postponed until January.
Getting 27 people with different interests to agree to anything is hard, but the lack of solidarity among EU members can be striking.