Spain deepens EU budget deadlock


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 - Page 15

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected a proposal for the EU budget made by EU President Herman Van Rompuy, while European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso requested “solidarity” from members.

“The EU president’s current proposal is not acceptable for Spain,” Rajoy told reporters on Saturday following a two-day summit of Ibero-American leaders in Cadiz, Spain.

While the European Commission’s initial proposal was “a good starting point,” Spain rejects a second proposal made by Van Rompuy due to plans for cohesion funds and a “radical” reduction in the budget for the common agricultural policy, Rajoy said.

Spanish opposition deepens a deadlock between European governments over the bloc’s 2014 to 2020 budget before a summit of EU leaders to be held on Thursday and Friday.

With unemployment at 26 percent after a five-year economic slump, Spain’s struggle to restore growth is at the heart of a debate about how to balance reordering public finances and stimulating growth.

“The most important and substantial point is that the Spanish government does not like this proposal, so we have informed the institutions and we hope a more reasonable one can be made that can be agreed on by all,” Rajoy said.

Barroso, with whom Rajoy said he had discussed budget issues, on Saturday rebuked governments that are resisting efforts to lessen the impact of what he termed a “social emergency” in some EU countries.

“It seems unimaginable to me that at this socially difficult moment in Europe, some governments keep proposing cutting some of our proposals in the next budget,” Barroso told reporters.

Van Rompuy on Saturday said in Vienna that a deal on the budget “requires political will, compromises and concessions by all.”

EU leaders need to show in talks about bloc’s 2014-2020 budget this week that they “can make difficult decisions in difficult times,” he said.