The Daily Telegraph has learnt that a draft Brussels budget for 2013 sets a “substantial” spending increase of £7.4 billion, which is over four per cent above the rate of EU inflation…The demand, amounting to £898 million in extra contributions, would mean new cuts in national spending and additional reductions in expenditure on public services in Britain. If agreed at a Brussels summit in June, the Commission’s budget would mean that the annual tax burden for paying EU membership contributions would rise to £666 for every British household.
The budget demand will trigger a major political row across the EU, after Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, two weeks ago, made a freeze on Brussels contributions a central plank of his re-election campaign…
One director grade official in the European civil service revealed that EU departments have been pressured to increase their budget forecasts in order to “bump up” Brussels expenditure.
“There are people in the Commission who are like the Taliban, they are fundamentalists who believe as an article of faith that the EU’s expenditure must increase every year even during a crisis,” he said.
Mats Persson, the director of the Open Europe think-tank, said: “The double standards here are extraordinary. The same Commission that is literally drawing up blueprints for how member states should cut spending proposes a massive increase to its own budget.” Richard Ashworth, leader of Conservative MEPs and a member of the European parliament’s budget committee, vowed to fight the increase.
“It is as though these people live on another planet where there is no recession, no eurozone crisis, no bottom to taxpayers’ pockets and no limit to their own self-indulgence. They seem to have no concept of the abject disgust which will greet this demand for ever more cash,” he said.
Nigel Farage MEP, the leader of Ukip, said: “This outrageous demand is Cameron’s chance to wield a veto by refusing to pay any extra. If he doesn’t voters will be entitled to ask why their public services are being cut while the only way up is for Brussels spending.”
Over to you, Prime Minister.