EU budget move 'good deal for UK'
David Cameron has hailed a real-terms cut in the European Union's next seven-year budget as a good deal for Britain.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons the UK had successfully rejected proposals by Europe's "big spenders" for an increase in the budget, as he fought alongside Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden for a reduction in the EU's credit card limit.
He told MPs it was "disappointing" that administrative costs were still 6% of the total budget, but he was pleased spending on the Common Agricultural Policy would fall by 13% on the last seven-year budget.
Mr Cameron, who was cheered by Tory backbenchers as he arrived in the Commons, said: "Reform of EU spending is a long-term project but this deal does deliver important progress.
"Working with allies we took real steps towards reform in the European Union. It is a good deal for Britain, a good deal for Europe and above all a good deal for all our taxpayers. That's what we have delivered."
He added that at last week's summit the Government had worked with "like-minded allies" to secure the reduction "for the first time in history". He said that had a deal not been reached, the current budget would have just rolled-over.
The European Commission had proposed increasing the budget to 988 billion euro and had the support of a number of member states but this had been successfully opposed.
Mr Cameron said: "During the last negotiation, which covered the period from 2007 to 2013, the last Government agreed to an increase in the payment ceiling from 8% to euros 943 billion.
"Put simply, this gave the EU a credit card with a higher limit and today we are still living with the results of allowing the EU's big spenders to push for more and more spending each year.
"In fact only last year when member states were having to make tough decisions to tighten their belts at home, the big spenders succeeded in increasing the 2012 European budget by another 5% compared with the previous year."