» Monday, November 21, 2005


Asked if our EU partners were perhaps not as optimistic as the Government about securing a budget deal by December 7th, the PMOS said that the reality was that at Hampton Court we had very successfully set out the broad context in which we believed the budget negotiations should take place. What the Foreign Secretary had announced this morning was the start of the process of turning that broad context into detail with a special meeting of foreign ministers on 7th December. He pointed out that the 7th December could not be called a deadline since there was a European Council meeting on 15th-16th December.

Asked if the Prime Minister shared Peter Mandelson’s view that the UK would be considered to have lost badly if it did not secure a deal on the budget, the PMOS said that he would not comment on what other individuals had said, but he would say that it was right to recognise that for the East Europeans in particular it would be very helpful. That was because at this stage in their development, uncertainty about the EU budget was important to them. That said it had to be the right deal.

Asked if the Euromed meeting in Barcelona would be a good opportunity to carry out negotiations on this issue, the PMOS said that not all the European leaders would be in Barcelona and while private conversations might take place, the important thing was trying to get a place where detailed proposals could be put forward. We were still some way of from the main European Council summit in December.

Asked what the actual deadline for a decision would be, the PMOS said that obviously matters came to a head in terms of our presidency at the meeting on the 15th-16th December. As we had said throughout we would like to get a deal on the budget if it was possible but it had to be the right deal.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Search for related news

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