Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday insisted that agreement on a long-term budget for the European Union was “achievable”, but said he was prepared to “hang very tough” and wait, rather than accept a deal which is not good for Britain.
Talks on the EU’s seven-year budget for 2014-20 – known in Brussels jargon as the multi-annual financial framework, or Maff – collapsed last month after leaders accepted they were nowhere near a deal.
But Mr Cameron said the talks helped to establish a “pretty strong and pretty stable” alliance between the UK and other net contributors to EU coffers, including Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, which should together be able to deliver a budget that is billions of euro smaller than was proposed by the European Commission.
Speaking at a Westminster lunch, Mr Cameron again insisted he wanted Britain to remain in the EU, and confirmed he intended to renegotiate the UK’s relations with Brussels before seeking “fresh consent” from the British voters.
But he made clear he was not seeking confrontation with Tories - including former defence secretary Liam Fox - who openly discuss EU withdrawal.