Monti, Faymann hint at possible vetoes if cuts go too deep.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has said that she is
“very optimistic” that national leaders will strike a deal on the European
Union's long-term budget at a special summit in Brussels next week (7-8
Merkel spoke after meeting Mario Monti, Italy's caretaker
prime minister, in Berlin today.
“I am very optimistic that on the question of the long-term
EU budget, we will be successful, that we will get an agreement,” Merkel said.
“Italy and Germany are both net contributors, we have common
interests,” she said. “But of course these talks won't be easy and we can
expect Italy to push its interests.”
Monti for his part suggested that he will seek a better deal
for his crisis-shaken country.
“For Italy it is essential for the next European budget to
have resources commensurate to the Union's ambitions and to support growth and
solidarity,” he said, in comments apparently directed at countries such as
Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden that are pushing for further cuts
to the European Commission's €1 trillion proposal for the 2014-20 multi-annual
Speaking in Brussels last night, Monti had hinted Italy
might use its veto to block a deal if it believes cuts have gone too
orgy of cuts that certain countries want to apply is inconsistent," he
said, suggesting that it would not be "irresponsible" if a member state
disagreed with an "inadequate" budget proposal.
Speaking in Berlin, Monti said: “It is also important for Italy's contribution
to be proportionate and fair compared to that of other net contributors.” He
then attacked the rebates that several member states – most prominently Britain – receive under the current system.
Werner Faymann, the chancellor of Austria, said in Vienna
today that Austria will not agree to be the only member state whose rebate will
be eliminated in the new long-term budget.
“If everyone is prepared to take a big step and to do
without rebates – and I'm addressing the UK here – then Austria will also be
willing to do without its rebate,” Faymann said in a news conference with José
Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission. “But it is not a good
idea for Austria to be the only one to lose its rebate while all the others
keep theirs,” he said. “We are demanding fair treatment on the rebate.”
Today's meetings were part of intense pre-summit diplomacy,
which culminates next Wednesday (6 February) in a meeting in Paris between
Merkel and François Hollande, France's president.
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