29 OCT 2010
By Valentina Pop
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – A compromise on the 2011 EU budget is likely to coalesce around a three-percent increase compared to this year's spending after a vivid discussion among EU leaders and the European Parliament's chief about the rationale of raising the figure when most capitals are being forced to cut their own budgets.
The meeting, which usually consists of EU Parliament chief Jerzy Buzek reading out a statement and then leaving, took an extra hour to wrap up, as British Prime Minister David Cameron intervened to counter the parliament's plea for a six percent increase in the EU budget. Roughly a dozen other leaders then intervened as well, mostly backing the British premier. The Belgian and the Greek prime ministers were among the few who supported Mr Buzek's plea.
"Anyone who is against the six-percent increase is anti-European," Mr Buzek told EU leaders, according to diplomats present at the debate, which took place behind closed doors.
Mr Cameron retorted, diplomats say: "Wait a minute. I just cut the budget for my police, does that make me anti-police?"
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also jumped in: "And I cut the German budget, does that make me anti-German?"
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