Revolt against the EU budget as the Netherlands joins Britain in with a veto threat
EU budget revolt grows as Dutch join Britain in veto threat
The revolt against soaring European Union budgets is growing after the Dutch vowed to join Britain in vetoing and blocking “incomprehensible” increases in Brussels spending.
By Bruno Waterfield, Brussels
1:51PM BST 24 Oct 2012
Jan Kees de Jager, the Dutch finance minister, told his country’s parliament that the Netherlands “would dig in its heels” to stop an above-inflation EU budget for 2013 and a demand for an 11 per cent rise in European spending between 2014 to 2020.
“This is unacceptable to us, and we will fight tooth and nail against it,” he said last night. “It is incomprehensible.” Mr De Jager attacked the European Commission and MEPs for demanding an “unbelievable” seven per cent rise in spending next year despite a request from governments that EU expenditure is reduced to reflect painful austerity and reductions in national budgets.
He pledged to join with Britain and other countries to form a “blocking” vote to stop the 2013 increase which increase the Brussels bill for national government by £7.3 billion at a time when the Dutch, a eurozone member, are implementing painful national cuts that have demanded by the EU to tackle the single currency debt crisis.
The Dutch finance minister echoed Britain by vowing to veto a demand by the commission for an £80 billion increase on long-term EU spending between 2014 and 2020.
The budget can only be agreed by a unanimous vote and Mr De Jager warned the EU that, like Britain, he would veto proposals that did represent a real-terms freeze in spending.
“Unanimity is needed. We can put our heels in the sand – and we will do so – against proposals that go absolutely against our Dutch position. If we are proposed something to which we are truly opposed, we will vote against it. That means a veto, because voting against means a veto,” he said.
The Dutch intervention will be welcomed by David Cameron who has told the EU that Britain will “stick to its guns” in vetoing the 2014 to 2020 budget unless it is cut.