» Thursday, October 20, 2005

EU Finance

Asked why the Prime Minister was "so keen" not to hold any discussions on future financing, the PMOS said that as he had said yesterday, it was a question of getting the horse and the cart in the right order. As the Prime Minister had set out in June, the challenges facing Europe were how we addressed the opportunities and "threats" of globalisation. Therefore, we needed to address those broader questions before the particularities of the details of the budget could be addressed. What could not happen, however, was to allow the particularities of the budget dictate how the broader question was addressed. The PMOS said that in this country, we tended to start everything from the rebate, but as the Prime Minister said in June, the rebate was only a symptom of the overall problem, but it was not the problem itself. The problem was how did we address challenges of globalisation today and how did that impact on the EU’s priorities

Asked who would be representing Germany at the Summit, the PMOS said the invitation had been sent to the current Chancellor, but it would be a matter for the German Government who represented them.

Put to the PMOS that the expectation was that it would still be Chancellor Schroeder, the PMOS said he heard what the journalist was saying, but it was a matter for the German Government.

Put to the PMOS that in the letter, the Prime Minister was confident of securing a deal on future financing by December, but given the differences there were in Brussels in June, what progress had been made since then, the PMOS replied that the important thing was that we took this in sequence. We were now in October, and December was two months away. Therefore, let us take the Informal Summit, and discuss and agree our overall priorities, and then move to the detail of the budget. Let us not try and do it the other way around. That was the difference of our approach. The PMOS said that what next week was not about was the budget, rather it was about the broader question of agreeing the priorities. The PMOS said he was not going to give people a running commentary from now until December on how we thought the patient was; we would deal with the state of the patient in December.

Put to the PMOS that would this not prepare the ground by agreeing the broad strategic priorities, the PMOS replied that what a discussion about how we faced globalisation did was shape the debate within which people could then move onto the subject of the budget. The important thing was that we took the debate on globalisation very seriously.

Asked if the Prime Minister supported President Barroso’s proposals on globalisation, the PMOS said that the paper was the Commission’s paper. In terms of the focus of globalisation, however, the questions that the Prime Minister had posed that came out of the paper suggested the Prime Minister believed it was an important Commission paper, and one which opened up a discussion at the Informal Summit in the way that we had wished.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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