Amid criticism from some within his own party that he should have pressed for a budget freeze, or a cut, Mr Cameron insisted he had made "a real difference" by putting the 2011 budget on the agenda and persuading other states to reject the "crazy" 5.9% rise - which he said was now "dead". While he had wanted a freeze, he said had been "looking down the barrel of a potential 6% increase" and his aim had been to stop it adding: "We have succeeded quite spectacularly, we put together a big alliance to stop that juggernaut of 6% in its tracks.""Succeeded quite spectacularly?" Excuse me while I find a tissue to wipe the copious laughter tears from my eyes:
But asked if he could guarantee that the budget would not rise by more than 2.9%, Mr Cameron said: "I am sure they [EU leaders] are good for their word." A spokesman for EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said the final rise was still uncertain.Ouch ouch my sides are hurting. And:
Last week Mr Cameron said he was calling for "a cash freeze in the size of the EU budget for 2011". But on Thursday his officials briefed that he had accepted a freeze was not possible.Oh dear:
In office but not in power, eh, Mr Cameron?
Martin Schulz, the German leader of Europe's Social Democrat MEPs, the parliament’s second biggest bloc, said Mr Cameron’s promise was “nonsense” and the Prime Minister was “setting himself up for a fall”.
He said: “The negotiations have barely begun - it is not for Mr Cameron to announce their conclusion.”
He added: “The figures he is talking about bear little relation to reality. He is setting himself up for a fall.”
A diplomat from one of EU countries that signed Mr Cameron’s letter predicted that the final deal would be larger than promised. “It will be very difficult to keep at 2.9 per cent with what the parliament is saying,” said the diplomat.
And a European Commission official stressed that Mr Cameron’s guarantee “doesn’t change anything” because legally binding “conciliation” talks continue until Nov 11.