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Via Open Europe:

The European Commission has today tabled its proposal for the 2012 EU budget. The proposal will see the EU budget increase by 4.9%, or €6.2bn – more than two percentage points above inflation. This would take the budget from €126.5bn in 2011 up to €132.7bn in 2012, at a time when most European governments are pursuing tough austerity measures at home.

The Commission’s proposal would see the UK’s contributions to the EU budget increase by £680m (€769m) next year compared to 2011. For this amount, the Coalition Government could reverse two year’s worth of cuts to child tax credits for families with children under the age of one. Or this money could pay the salaries of 21,000 newly qualified police officers in London for a whole year.

Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson said,

“The Commission is either completely misreading or wilfully ignoring the public mood around Europe. There’s very little appetite for a big increase to a budget that provides limited added value to citizens.”

“Just like national governments, the EU has to adapt and find ways to re-shuffle and prioritise the funds available in the current economic climate. Almost everywhere you look there is fat that can be cut from the EU budget – from the 50 or so EU quangos; to the wasteful farm subsidies; to ‘cohesion’ subsidies to Europe’s richest regions.”

“Perhaps the strangest thing about these running requests for more money is that the Commission – and MEPs – fail to realise what a PR disaster they are. This really is not the way to win the respect of citizens.”

I have made a number of speeches on this which you can find here. I am committed to a binding in/out referendum on our membership.

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