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Europe

EU Budget Commissioner Attacks ‘Budget Letter'

EU budget commissioner Michaele Schreyer has criticized calls by six of the European Union's biggest funders to put new caps on the body's spending beginning in 2007.

The European Union’s budget commissioner, Michaele Schreyer, has criticized a "budget letter" sent earlier this week by six member states calling for a cap in the EU's budget. The six members, all net payers into the EU's coffers, include France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Austria. They called for the EU's budget to be capped at one percent of gross national income (GNI) from 2007 onwards. Currently, spending is capped at 1.24 percent of GNI. In an interview with Germany’s Berliner Zeitung newspaper, Schreyer slammed the letter, saying "you cannot reduce the budget at the time we are enlarging." Nevertheless, Schreyer did not dismiss the letter altogether. In separate comments to the German daily Die Welt, Schreyer said: "The six states finance 80 percent of the net payers. Therefore, we have to take this letter seriously." She also said her office would be willing to negotiate "serious suggestions." ( EUobserver.com)