Christmas is around the corner, and so is budget time for the European Union. David Cameron has crossed the Channel to play a familiar English villain in Brussels: Ebeneezer Scrooge. The British Prime Minister is insisting on a budget freeze, which is a scandal for the high-living EU political classes, who had hoped for an increase in their €130 billion budget despite the economic malaise gripping the continent.
Cameron is not alone. The net contributor nations of the EU, including Germany, want the organization to go on a financial diet, but there is a considerable political pressure for more spending from the poorer countries, most of which are in the southern half of Europe.
For perpetual EU skeptic and scold Nigel Farage, a freeze is not enough. He points out that Britons have become fed up with the fiscal and regulatory excesses of the EU, and claims that a majority now want to leave. He may be oversimplifying, but it is clear that there has been a sea change in British attitudes towards the EU, and that Brussels has lost its sacred cow status. It is now perfectly acceptable for a British politician to tear into the EU, whereas it was political near-suicide just a decade ago.
Enjoy the fireworks!