• France's news in English
Hollande set to compromise in EU cut
British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and French President François Hollande (right) at the EU leaders' summit in Brussels on December 13th, 2012. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

Hollande set to compromise in EU cut

Ben McPartland · 8 Feb 2013, 14:38

Published: 08 Feb 2013 14:38 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Although details of the deal are yet to emerge, it has been widely reported in the press that the 27 member states have agreed to cut the EU's budget for 2014 to 2020 by around 30 billion euros.

On Friday the negotiations edged towards a compromise, after a hard-fought two day summit which saw talks last through the night on Thursday.

It is believed the budget for the next seven year term will stand at around €960 billion, which represents around 1 percent of Europe's overall wealth.

The budget cut, yet to be officially confirmed, comes just days after French president François Hollande had warned against too much austerity at the expense of growth in his speech to the EU parliament.

Although sections of the British press claimed Friday’s expected deal to cut the EU budget was a defeat for Hollande, not all EU finance experts view it as such.

“I don’t think Hollande has been defeated here. I don’t think there was a big victory or defeat for anyone,” Tomasz Michalski from French business school HEC told The Local.

“There are no major changes and no major quarrels that were made public. Everyone is getting a bit too excited that it has been cut for the first time, but it was inevitable,” Michalski said.

In his speech to the European Parliament earlier in the week, Hollande had warned deputies about the dangers of cutting spending.

“Yes, make cuts but weaken the economy, no," Hollande said just days before EU leaders discussed the budget.

This week’s crucial summit comes after a bad-tempered November meeting failed when several member states, led by Britain, called for sharp budget cuts at a time when all governments were having to reduce spending, so as to balance the public finances.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy proposed in November a reduced budget of 973 billion euros ($1.33 billion) but failed to bridge the differences, with London seeking an even sharper reduction to 886 billion euros.

The main dispute concerns how spending cuts should be divided up between Cohesion Funds, which help newer members catch up with their peers, and the CAP, jealously defended by France.

The European Parliament plays a key role because it has to approve any budget accord.

Hollande also said that it was "legitimate to work on a new architecture for the European Union" but cautioned against member states picking and choosing what parts of the EU they wanted.

Story continues below…

Thomas Klau from the European Council on Foreign Relations in Paris told The Local a cut to the budget would not be seen in France as a defeat to Hollande.

“It is too early to tell and we need to see the details of the deal, but he would only really come under serious pressure from the opposition and the press if a case could be made that he ignored France’s agricultural interests.

“He would also be criticised if he had nothing to show in terms of helping the growth agenda in Europe and targeting help towards poorer countries,” Klau added.

Klau himself believes a cut to the EU budget would be a mistake believing more money would be saved if spending was organized at an EU level rather than by each member state.

"There's an awful lot of projects, like diplomacy services or research and development that can be much more cost effective when done at EU level," Klau told the Local.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available