28 OCT 2010
• PM in row with Tory right as he accepts budget rise
• Summit will be dominated by German treaty demand
By Nicholas Watt and Ian Traynor | Guardian
David Cameron is planning to approve a £435m increase in Britain's contribution to the EU next year, prompting a row with the Tory right as he admits defeat in a battle to freeze the budget.
As Eurosceptics in the party turned on the government in an emergency Commons debate on Europe, the prime minister told fellow European leaders ahead of a summit in Brussels on Thursday that he accepts the £107bn EU budget will have to increase by a minimum of 2.9%. This will take the budget to £110.2bn, with Britain contributing an extra £435.2m.
The concession represents a blow for Cameron who said as recently as last week that he wanted to see the EU budget cut, or at least frozen, as Europe plays its part in reducing costs during a period of fiscal austerity.
He admitted defeat on the eve of his second EU summit, which will be dominated by German demands for a new EU treaty. Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a backlash from small EU states over her demand that the €110bn bailout for Greece and the wider €750bn bailout fund for others must be placed on a legally watertight basis.
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Cameron accused of 'Vichy-style' surrender by Tory right as he accepts defeat over £430m EU budget hike