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EU budget faces first ever cuts

By Lauren Grice

The European Union’s (EU’s) budget could see cuts for the first time since its inception.

Proposals were unveiled by EU president Herman Van Rompuy early this morning (February 8th) that will see a significant reduction in the body’s financial commitments if instituted.

He called for the EU’s budget to be reduced to €908.4 billion (£774 billion) between 2014 and 2020.

The move is likely to be welcomed by UK prime minister David Cameron, who arrived at the budget summit on Thursday proclaiming the need to address the organisation’s spending.

He described the budget as “too high” and claimed no deal could be arranged unless further cuts were put in place.

“Frankly the EU should not be immune from the sorts of pressures that we’ve had to reduce spending,” he said.

Van Rompuy’s proposals mark a significant decrease from the €973 billion budget put forward during a summit on the issue in November last year.

“For the first time in the EU’s history there will be a real budget cut,” Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuanian president and former EU budget commissioner said.

However, the deal is by no means complete and could be vetoed by MEPs under powers granted by the Lisbon Treaty.

The compromise came under fire from Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, who questioned the value of the cuts.

“Shaving a few pence off our daily contribution is inconsequential – the question now is why are we paying anything at all, [sic]” he said via Twitter.

 

Image used courtesy of Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.com.

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