» Wednesday, December 7, 2005

EU Future Financing

Asked if the Prime Minister still thought a deal was possible given President Chirac’s comments, the PMOS said, as he had yesterday, that we were in a period where we had tabled proposals. Inevitably there would be discussions and as was normal people would express their reservations because, as was normal in a Europe of 25 everybody could see how a position might be improved from their particular perspective. When we got to the 15 December people would have to choose between the reality of the possibility of getting a deal, which we believed was there, or holding out for their own ideal position. That was a choice people would have to make.

What we had tried to do was to get a deal, which met people’s main concerns. Whether we had succeeded or not people would judge on the 15 December. Obviously a large part of that consultation process would take place tomorrow and Friday when we met with a long list of countries coming through in that short period. Asked if there was any more detail on that list, the PMOS said that the meetings would start with Prime Minister Verhofstadt of Belgium who was coming at 8am tomorrow.

Asked if there were any plans to talk to President Chirac, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had spoken to the President in a phone call yesterday. If necessary they would talk again. This was an ongoing rolling discussion, and he stressed it would be a Europe of 25 that made the decision not one or two members. It would be a broad based decision. Asked for a flavour of the discussion, the PMOS said President Chirac had his view and was particularly concerned with defending the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Our view on the CAP was that there should be a mid term review. That was our approach and it would remain so. The French would set out their position.

What we believed we were doing was taking a realistic and practical approach to the budget. We did not pretend that we would not prefer a bigger deal that involved CAP reform. If that were not possible then we would try to achieve a deal based on the proposals that we had put forward including a mid term review. Asked if there were any plans to talk with Chancellor Merkel, the PMOS said that we kept in touch but, as they knew, she had recently visited and as such the Prime Minister knew her approach. We would also be keeping in contact with Germany in the run up to the Council.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Search for related news

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