It is unclear what benefit EU derives from British membership – but British expulsion from EU could surely simplify EU politics and debates.
EU officials have begun work on a plan to create a long-term budget without the UK in a move that reflects mounting frustration that Britain’s demand for a spending freeze cannot be reconciled with the rest of the bloc.
Both EU officials and national diplomats have been studying the legal and technical feasibility of devising such a budget, according to people familiar with the discussions, ahead of a two-day summit beginning on Thursday in Brussels, where the EU’s 27 heads of government will try to reach an agreement on the long-term budget.
The prospects for that meeting have darkened in recent days
as several diplomats have come to the conclusion that it will be impossible to accommodate the UK’s demands, and are now predicting failure.
“Because of the British stance people are looking, both in national capitals and in Brussels, for a solution at 26. It’s being looked at from a financial and legal point of view,” one official said.
The plan may be a negotiating ploy to try to put more pressure on David Cameron, the UK prime minister, to compromise. The budget talks will resume on Monday evening when Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, hosts a dinner of European ministers.
Officials acknowledge that such an approach – if pursued – would be rife with complexities. It could also have grave consequences for the UK’s already fragile relationship with the rest of the EU. “There are people talking about this,” a diplomat said, but added: “There are huge questions.”
Downing Street on Sunday said it was “sure” the idea was being discussed in Brussels but rejected the idea of a budget deal without Britain as “not acceptable”.
“Ultimately we have to agree to spending this money,” a spokesman for Mr Cameron said. “We make a significant net contribution and parliament has a strong view on this.”
Mr Cameron has staked out the most aggressive position in the debate over the long-term budget, which will cover roughly €1,000bn in spending from 2014 to 2020, calling for a real-terms freeze from 2011 levels.
Sweden has taken a similar position to the UK and other countries could yet thwart a deal. France’s President François Hollande said on Saturday that “above all, spending on the common agricultural policy must be preserved”.
via EU makes budget plans without UK – FT.com.