Britain's budget proposal: no way

The majority of EU foreign ministers have denounced Britain's proposals for a long-term budget, claiming it is selfish and unfair.

Meeting in Brussels, the ministers criticized the budget offered by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, which calls for a cut of $16.8 billion from proposed funding for Eastern Europe while allowing the annual British rebate to rise.

Britain is its last month of holding the rotating EU presidency, and is locked into wrangling with France over Britain's rebate and France's agricultural subsidies.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy was among the most vocal critics, saying "Britain is isolated," and called for a better offer, according to the Financial Times.

The EU also panned a British 2007-13 budget last June, which was for $992 billion, down $38 billion from original estimates.

On returning to London, Straw said Britain would produce a revised draft budget next week, before the EU summit on Dec.15-16, UPI reports.


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