EU budget has the “wrong priorities” – Nuder

The European Union's chances of reaching an agreement on the bloc's budget at this week's summit in Brussels are slim, the finance ministers of Sweden and Finland warned Tuesday.

“The talks between the big countries will be decisive. The small countries are only trying to defend their interests. The prognosis is not good,” Finnish Finance Minister Antti Kalliomaeki said after talks with his Swedish counterpart Pär Nuder.

Nuder, whose country is a net contributor to the EU and one of those calling for a spending ceiling for 2007-2013 of one percent of the EU’s gross national income, said the EU budget of today has the “wrong priorities”.

“For each (Swedish) krona that we send to Brussels, we get half a krona back. The other half that stays in Brussels goes either to French farmers or to regional subsidies in Spain or Italy, which are rich countries,” he said, in comments reported by Finnish news agency FNB.

Finland has called for a spending level equivalent to 1.1% of the EU’s gross national income – in other words, in between the Swedish demand of 1% and that of the EU of 1.21%.