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UPDATE 1-Britain says it wants a cut in EU budget

by on November 1, 2012 9:09 am GMT
 

Thu Nov 1, 2012 5:09am EDT


Nov 1 (Reuters) – Britain threatened on Thursday to
veto any deal on the European Union budget that is not good for
the British taxpayer, a day after a humiliating defeat in
parliament undermined Prime Minister David Cameron’s authority.

The vote – Cameron’s first significant defeat in parliament
since taking power in 2010 – could strengthen his position at
budget talks in Brussels this month as he will be able to say
his hands are tied by the British parliament.

“We want a cut in the EU budget,” finance minister George
Osborne told BBC Radio 4. “We are at the beginning of a
negotiation. Let us see where that negotiation leads.”

The second most powerful man in the British government
repeatedly refused to be drawn on whether he thought securing
such a cut was possible or not.

“We will not accept a deal unless it is good for the British
taxpayer. We will veto any deal that is not good for the British
taxpayer,” Osborne said.

“No one should doubt David Cameron’s determination, my
determination to deliver a deal that is good for the taxpayer
and that puts an end to outrageous increases in European
spending,” Osborne said.

Osborne talked past a question on whether the Conservative
Party was out of control over Europe but said Wednesday’s defeat
in parliament meant the government had to listen to lawmakers.

“We will only put a deal to the House of Commons that we
think the House of Commons will accept,” Osborne said.

“If it comes to a vote… the House of Commons will face a
choice: you either accept the deal or you accept no deal. Now no
deal doesn’t mean there is no spending in Europe; it means you
go to these annual budgets in the European Union.”

Osborne, 41, said there had been a shift in the public mood
against the European Union in Britain.

“Britain has become more Eurosceptic over my lifetime. I
think people are outraged when they see money being wasted in
Europe.”