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Reinfeldt brands EU budget 'unrealistic'

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Reinfeldt brands EU budget 'unrealistic'
14:48 CET+01:00
Sweden on Tuesday slammed the 2014-2020 European Union budget proposed by Cyprus, the EU's current rotating president, branding the draft "unrealistic" and arguing that it ignores the bloc's economic reality.

The proposals that have been unveiled are "unrealistic", according to the Swedish PM.

"They have to be lowered," Reinfeldt told news agency TT.

"In times of austerity, the EU budget must not grow. We need to cut three or four times as much as in this proposal to stabilise member states' contributions," European Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson said in a statement.

On Monday, the Cyprus presidency presented a 2014-2020 EU budget plan that would cut costs "by at least 50 billion euros". The European Commission in July presented a budget that was 5.0 percent higher than in the previous period.

"Sweden cannot accept that the value of our rebate is reduced" while the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is exempt from cutbacks, Ohlsson added.

Europe needs to "invest in growth in order to compete with the US, China and India. (The Cyprus) proposal does the opposite," she said.

Asked whether Sweden would veto the proposal, Prime Minister Reinfeldt said:

"We continue the dialogue with net contributors who share our vision."

The country remains opposed to a reduction of its rebate, which it -- along with Britain, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands -- has negotiated on the grounds that it would otherwise be paying a disproportionate amount of the EU budget.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier this month that he would veto an increased EU budget, calling it "unacceptable".

On Thursday, the Danish prime minister said that she too would veto the commission's proposal unless Copenhagen received a rebate on its contribution.

The EU budget will be discussed during a special November 22-23 summit.

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