21 SEP 2010
Baroness Ashton has demanded an eight per cent budget increase for her new EU diplomatic corps at a time when national government departments, including Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, face deep cuts.
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Lady Ashton faced sharp criticism on Monday for breaking promises to deliver a neutral budget for next year when the spiralling administrative costs of her new European External Action Service (EEAS) overrun by £29 million to reach £399 million, even before it is fully operational.
"It is totally unacceptable to break the promise of budget neutrality at a time when people in Britain are facing austerity and cuts. I believe she is flying a kite to see what she can get away with," said Charles Tannock, a London MEP and the Tory foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament. "We need a leaner and meaner EEAS and there is plenty of fat to cut."
An extra £24.6 million was requested to pay eurocrat wages and an extra £4.4 million for upgrading buildings for the EEAS's new Brussels HQ, which has yet to be chosen.
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