There is still something I don't understand about this type of process: if it is a sound argument that the EU budget will have to be restrained like the national budgets themselves, why should this change if Poland and Spain come into line on the constitution?
Six of Europe's biggest paymasters on Monday called for a freeze in the European Union budget until 2013, in a move that could cut aid payments to poorer countries including Spain and Poland.
The leaders of Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria, all net contributors to the EU, said in a joint letter that the union's budget should be subject to the same "painful consolidation" as national budgets.
The warning, following immediately after Spain and Poland blocked the deal on a new EU constitution, steps up the pressure on Madrid and Warsaw to fall into line.
Germany, which contributes 22 per cent of the EU's €100bn budget, has warned of "certain parallels" between the budget negotiations and finalising a deal on the constitution.
Poland and Spain are expected to be the biggest net beneficiaries of the next EU budget round from 2007 to 2013, with subsidies benefiting agriculture, industry and infrastructure projects.
Source: Financial Times