Thorning-Schmidt doubles down on EU budget veto threat

PM restated her demand that Denmark receive a discount to its EU contribution days before European ministers meet in Brussels to negotiate the next seven-year budget

February 5th, 2013 1:53 pm| by admin

PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) has again threatened to veto the next seven-year EU budget unless Denmark is given a one billion kroner discount on its EU contribution.

“Denmark won’t vote for a budget unless we get a one billion kroner discount,” Thorning-Schmidt said at her weekly press conference today.

Several countries, including the UK and Austria, currently receive discounts to their EU budget contributions and Thorning-Schmidt argued that if the other discounts remain in place, then Denmark should continue to insist for its ”crystal clear” right to its own discount.

“It is not because Denmark does not believe in solidarity. We do. But we don’t want to pay four kroner every time a country similar to us pays three kroner,” Thorning-Schmidt said, adding that she had the support of parliament. “We may not have made demands like these before, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is important.”

While it initially looked likely that Denmark would receive its demanded discount, the EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said last month that Denmark was not entitled to a discount after all.

European ministers are meeting in Brussels this Thursday to try and complete the already-delayed negotiations for the EU budget for 2014 to 2020.

At the heart of the conflict are demands for the budget to be cut in order to reflect the economic difficulties facing the EU as a result of the financial crisis.

As a result, European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, presented a €950 billion budget in November that was €75 billion less than the European Commission’s initial proposal. His proposal failed, however, after some members demanded an additional €30 billion reduction.

Lithuania, which holds the rotating six month EU presidency, has announced that the budget will be finalised in the spring. France's president, François Hollande, said yesterday however that the conditions for achieving a deal had not yet been achieved.

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