Italy's Monti rebuffs Britain's EU budget drive

ROME Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:37am IST

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron leave at the end of a meeting at Chigi Palace in Rome November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron leave at the end of a meeting at Chigi Palace in Rome November 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

Related Topics

ROME (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron met a cool response from Italy's Mario Monti on Tuesday as he sought support for a drive to constrain the European Union budget.

Ahead of a meeting next week to decide the bloc's long-term spending plans, Cameron is facing opposition from a number of European countries over his call for the 1 trillion-euro EU budget to be frozen in real terms

Monti, a former EU commissioner, maintained his normal diplomatic tone but made it clear that Italy and Britain remained far apart on the issue, despite being respectively the third and fourth largest net contributors to the budget.

"Our positions have elements which do not perfectly coincide, to use British understatement," he said at a joint news conference in Rome.

"Even if we are supporters of a budget focused on the future, we are less convinced than the United Kingdom about the need for a significant reduction in the size of the European budget," he said.

Under pressure from Eurosceptic members of his Conservative party who want budget cuts, Cameron has threatened to veto the EU's seven-year budget if there is no agreement on a real-term freeze.

"We cannot go on increasing EU spending. The European Union has got to start living within its means," he told reporters.

"That means spending efficiently, spending effectively and in prioritising measures that will boost prosperity for all EU tax payers," he said.

"You are one of the larger net contributors in the European Union," he told Monti. "We are as well, I think it is in both our interests that there is proper financial control."

(Reporting By James Mackenzie; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

IS Claim

IS Claim

Islamic State says beheads second Japanese hostage.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Death toll mounts in Ukraine fighting after peace talks fail.  Full Article 

Fifth Title

Fifth Title

Djokovic reigns supreme at Australian Open.  Full Article 

Journalist Freed

Journalist Freed

Jailed Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste leaves Egypt for Australia.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

RBI seen holding rates steady on Tuesday, minority of analysts expect cut.  Full Article 

Doubles Title

Doubles Title

Hingis wins Australian Open mixed doubles title with Paes.  Full Article 

Houston's Daughter

Houston's Daughter

Bobbi Kristina Brown revived after found unresponsive in tub  Full Article 

Supply Glut

Supply Glut

Sugar mills seek govt help to dispose of supply surplus.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage