EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about the long-term plans for the EU budget was published by EurActiv on 1st December 2010.

Poland warned cuts in the European Union’s budget were not on the agenda of a summit of EU leaders on 16-17 December, during which the UK is expected to ask for a 25% reduction in the EU’s long-term spending for 2014-2020.

Poland wants to avoid a repeat of the 29 October summit, when UK Prime Minister David Cameron abruptly introduced the issue of the 2011 budget, which was not on the leaders’ agenda, a Polish official told a small group of Brussels journalists yesterday (30 November).

The next EU summit on 16-17 December is considered vital, as it is expected to reach agreement on a change to the Lisbon Treaty allowing for the establishment of a permanent mechanism to bail out countries in difficulty, such as Greece and Ireland.

Cameron stole the show at the October summit, backing Franco-German calls for a permanent crisis response mechanism and treaty change in return for keeping a lid on the EU 2011 budget.

Cameron also succeeded in obtaining a declaration that the EU’s long-term budget will be moderate.

“Heads of state or government stressed that, at the same time as fiscal discipline is reinforced in the European Union, it is essential that the EU budget and the forthcoming [long-term budget] reflect the consolidation efforts being made by member states,” the summit’s conclusions state.

Now Cameron is reportedly seeking a 25% reduction in the EU’s long-term budget to match cuts in spending made by his government at home.

Poland is in favour of a ‘Community’ approach to the long-term budget, meaning that it believes discussions should start after the Commission has tabled its proposals in June 2011. Otherwise the Commission would be taking orders from member states, the official said.

From 1 July 2011, Poland takes over the rotating EU presidency. The key players in the EU budget talks are Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, both of whom are Polish.

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