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07 November 2012

DW: Chancellor Merkel prepares to charm London

The gap between Great Britain and the rest of the EU is widening, with the British threatening to torpedo the upcoming EU budget summit. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel aims to mediate during her visit to London.

Great Britain's attitude towards the European Union is currently more distanced than ever, so the stance it takes in talks about the EU budget could be a good indication of the future of Britain's EU policy.

Fierce debates have already taken place on the new seven-year budget, with the European Commission calling for a budget of some €1 trillion for the seven-year period starting in 2014. That's an increase of 5 per cent on the budget from 2007-2013. The Cypriot presidency of the Council of the European Union would like to see €50 billion less in EU coffers than the Commission's demand. Germany, Sweden and France want at least €100 billion less.

In this context, budget negotiations will be extremely difficult - even though the amount in question is comparatively slim. Just one per cent of gross national income flows into the EU budget. The national budgets of most EU Member States, by contrast, swallow up 40 to 50 per cent of national gross income.

The upcoming budget summit and the eurosceptic movement in Great Britain will be closely monitored. The mood is tense in Brussels following the announcement in mid-October of the withdrawal from a total of 130 European programmes for cooperation on judiciary and security issues, the debate over a referendum for remaining in the EU, and the euro-critical course the vote took last week in the House of Commons.

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© Deutsche Welle

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