The FINANCIAL — Germany denied on Monday reports that it would seek to scrap a future EU summit on the bloc's seven-year budget if Britain threatened to veto a deal, and hinted it would push for a one-percent spending increase.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters that Berlin "explicitly rejects" a report in the Financial Times, according to which Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would scrap the November summit if London stuck to its guns.
Prime Minister David Cameron said after a summit of leaders last week: "It would not be acceptable to see a huge increase in spending when budgets are being cut."
Asked if he would veto the EU budget at a summit in November, Cameron replied: "The short answer is 'Yes'."
Seibert said it was "in Germany's interest that this special summit in November succeeds."
"We are convinced that such an agreement would be a strong signal that Europe could send, a signal that it is capable of acting and a signal for EU states in terms of their planning," Seibert said.
Berlin believes that the EU budget from 2014-2020 should promote "growth, jobs and competitiveness" and should also "reflect the tough consolidation efforts being made by member states" as eurozone countries slash debt levels.
He said Germany was in favour of a "moderate" increase in the EU budget. When pressed, he said: "One percent would be moderate."
Seibert went on to stress that talks were at an early stage and so negotiating positions remained fluid.
Negotiations over the EU's seven-year budget have traditionally given rise to hefty battles between the member states over how much they should pay into the pot.
As EUbusiness reported, in recent times, the main disagreements have been between France and Britain over the money Paris receives from the EU's Common Agricultural Policy and a rebate from the budget which Britain negotiated in 1984.
Amid signs that London is gradually moving away from its membership of the European Union, Seibert stressed that Britain was "a member of the European Union that we hold in high regard."
Merkel will be in London in early November to meet with Cameron, the FT said. The budget summit is scheduled for November 22 and 23.