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Sweden slams latest EU budget proposal

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08:20 CET+01:00
Sweden's EU Minister has criticized the latest European Union long-term budget proposal, arguing that Sweden "cannot accept" that its rebate will be cut.

Late Tuesday night, Cyprus, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, presented a revised proposal for the EU budget for 2014 to 2020.

An initial proposal put forward on October 30th was immediately rejected by Sweden and several other countries, and EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson once again expressed her dissatisfaction with the new proposal.

"The revised proposal means some small steps in the right direction but it's not enough. We need a clear model for reducing agriculture subsidies," she said in a statement.

"Further cuts will still be needed. We have to prioritize. Europe is going through a severe economic crisis."

She added that the EU is at an "important crossroads", and thus must boost investments in research, climate and foreign policy in order to meet increased competition from Asia.

Ohlsson also criticized the EU budget for reducing Sweden rebate by seven percent, while Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain would see their rebates from the EU increased by 10 to 15 percent.

"It is provocative that the value of the Swedish rebate is further reduced, especially so when other member states see their rebates increasing," she said.

"Sweden cannot accept that the value of our rebate is reduced compared to the current budget."

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The budget is set to be discussed next week at a meeting of the EU's heads of state and government.

TT/The Local/dl

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