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    Cameron claims EU budget victory


    by ODN


    David Cameron says he "made a real difference" to EU budget negotiations despite failing to prevent an increase for next year.

    The Prime Minister claimed victory in his bid to limit the rise for 2011 to 2.9 per cent, after previously saying he wanted to freeze or cut the budget. He has signed up 12 other heads of government to a letter rejecting a proposal for the budget to rise by almost 6 per cent.

    At a press conference at the end of the European Council gathering in Brussels, Mr Cameron said the 6 per cent proposal was "dead".

    He added: "The 2011 budget was not on the agenda for this Council. We put it on the agenda, we persuaded other countries to reject that 6 per cent increase. Britain has made a real difference."

    Shadow foreign secretary Yvette Cooper said: "David Cameron's grandstanding has been a complete failure. European governments decided on 2.9 per cent in August so he has achieved absolutely nothing. He's tried to swing his handbag but simply ended up clobbering himself in the face."

    Mr Cameron rallied Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Slovenia and Estonia behind a declaration vowing to stop eurocrats and MEPs getting the full 5.9 per cent rise they want.

    The 11 have enough voting clout to form a "blocking minority" if the rest of the member states try to settle on a higher figure in arbitration between ministers, the European Parliament and European Commission which could last until the end of the year.