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Britain's Cameron angers Europe in budget battle

Published on Nov 23, 2012 1:33 PM
British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves the EU Headquarters on Nov 22, 2012, in Brussels, during a two-day European Union leaders summit called to agree on a hotly-contested trillion-euro budget through 2020. European Union officials were scrambling to find an all but impossible compromise on the 2014-2020 budget that could successfully move richer nations looking for cutbacks closer to poorer ones who look to Brussels to prop up hard-hit industries and regions. -- PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron was locked in a new Brussels battle Friday as angry EU diplomats claimed his "virulent" demands for austerity were blocking a deal on a new budget for the bloc.

Nearly a year after he enraged his European counterparts by vetoing a pact to resolve the eurozone crisis, Mr Cameron was winding them up again on Thursday by demanding cuts to the perks enjoyed by so-called "eurocrats".

British officials insisted that other countries including Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany largely backed Mr Cameron's position for a reduction in the planned trillion-dollar budget for the seven years from 2014-2020.

In the hours before the summit there was even talk of a German-British axis of austerity - quickly dubbed "Merkeron" or "Camerkel" after Mr Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel - against France. But as the summit was suspended overnight, pessimistic European officials said Mr Cameron was hamstrung by the domestic pressures he faces from anti-Europe members of his Conservative party.

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