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Reinfeldt hails EU budget deal as 'good for Sweden'

Published: 08 Feb 2013 18:10 GMT+01:00

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt praised the result as "very good for Sweden".

According to Reinfeldt, the fee Sweden pays to be a part of the European Union will drop from the 32.5 billion kronor paid in 2012 to 32 billion kronor.

After a night-long marathon session hashing out details between the 27 member nations and the European Council, Sweden walked away with its discount in tact, albeit slimmed down.

The reduction means that Sweden will retain 80 percent of its current discout, which amounts to 2.8 billion kronor. The rebate reduction is also due in part to the fact that the level EU membership fees has fallen.

Swedish EU Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) was satisfied with the cuts to the EU budget.

"We were aiming for €100 billion in cuts, and ended up with about €90 billion. That's surprisingly good," she said in a statement.

But Sweden's Green Party was critical of the compromise to the EU long-term budget.

“From a Swedish perspective, it’s nothing more than a failure that the Swedish rebate seems to have been cut substantially,” Green MP Ulf Holm said in a statement.

The draft deal sets the 2014-20 actual EU spending or "payments" at €908.4 billion ($1.2 trillion), with an absolute ceiling of €960 billion for spending "commitments" to the budget.

The latest figures would represent a 3.0 percent cut from the 2007-13 budget and were less than the €973 billion that was rejected at a budget summit in November that collapsed without any deal.

Originally, the European Commission had wanted a 5.0 percent increase in commitments to €1.04 trillion ($1.4 trillion) – about one percent of the EU's total gross domestic product.

Despite Friday's deal, the spectre of a European Parliament veto on a slimmed-down union budget haunts observers in Sweden as it could deprive Sweden of its membership discount.

Cuts demanded by several members, as well as a discount for Denmark whose prime minister daringly included it in her national budget before even landing in Brussels, means that the EU parliamentarians may put their foot down if they decide the budget is too thinned out.

European Parliamentary speaker Martin Schultz has previously warned that too much of a gap between what the Council has said is needed to run the EU and what the member states are prepared to contribute could result in the proposed budget being voted down.

If no agreement is struck, a return to the negotiation table for what is likely to be yet another round of marathon discussions is unavoidable.

Were they to fail, the current EU budget would then remain in place, meaning that Sweden's hard-fought EU discount would no longer apply, Sveriges Radio (SR) reported.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

20:29 February 8, 2013 by byke
Which politician (apart from Mr Hollande of france) will come away from this and not say that they have secured a deal they are happy with? As that would question there very own abilities.

Europe is split - with the poor countries wanting Europe to have more cash pumped into it, so they can skim off the top.

And the richer countries wanting to invest less cash in the EU so they dont pay for other nations negligence.

Interesting to see that France is now in the same group as Greece, Spain and Italy.
20:36 February 8, 2013 by stigskog
Every country gets a discount.

It is just propaganda to shift peoples perceptions a little in the direction of believing that their country is getting a good deal from the EU.
20:39 February 8, 2013 by johan rebel
Discontinue all the insane (agricultural) subsidies, and the EU could easily make do with a budget of €300m or so.
20:57 February 8, 2013 by skogsbo
johan, I agree. cut the agri subsidies and people pay the real price of food in the supermarket. It will go up by 20-30% over night, but it's better than paying tax to one government, who give it to the EU, who pass it around a few dozen agencies then hand it back to the same government.
21:29 February 8, 2013 by Hisingen
Byke asks:- Which politician (apart from Mr Hollande of france) will come away from this and not say that they have secured a deal they are happy with? As that would question there very own abilities.

Easy - the EU politicians, as long as they get their increase in the EU budget. They will cling like the proverbial .#.¤. to a blanket to maintain their over-blown standard of iving and expences, and to blazes with what the countries who foot the bill have to say.

Agricultural subsidies et al on one side, the over-large EU parliament and the constant shuffling between Brussels and Strasbourg are two of the main causes of over expenditure, coupled with wasteful 'projects' dreamed up by some office worker and taken up by an EU parliamentarian as w 'wonderful project' that will put his/her name in the history books.

The whole kaboodle has got out of hand and is now the white elephant of Europe. A return to the forerunner - EFTA would be the only solution, but that will never happen since those who have given themselves power will never relinquish it without one hell of a fight.
22:06 February 8, 2013 by LOUCON70
Good day Sweden. Here in Britain, we are viewing this budget with a suspicious eye. Britain will still be paying more into the budget as effects of Tony Blairs handing over of some of our rebate takes effect. We all agree also that the CAP is a major cost to the EU and benefits only a few; Mainly French and wealthy farmers. Opinion Polls 3 weeks ago on MSN UK (a free, independant, unbias) homepage showed a 82% in favour of OUT vote. After a week of scaremongering by the EU and PRO EU UK politicians that number dropped to 62%............Most in UK have no bad views of Europe or its people....why would we?........but we dispise the undemocratic, unaccountable, socialist federal EU parlaimant and commission. We are fighting to hold onto democracy throughout Britain and Europe.
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