U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron prevailed in his determination to reduce the European Union’s (EU) seven-year project budget, the first time in the 27-member group’s history that the project budget has shrunk. The chop was relatively small, from around €1 trillion to €960 billion (or around $1.35 trillion to about $1.28 trillion).
The deal was reached at a meeting of EU leaders and still needs to be approved by the European Parliament. The going might be a bit tougher there, with some members already having said that they may reject any budget that spends less over the rest of this decade.
Cameron has announced a British referendum on the U.K.’s EU membership that could see the Brits leave the group as soon as 2017. That threat probably had a lot to do with the adoption of the lower budget, which was opposed by the French and the Italians, both of which want to maintain the high agricultural payments and infrastructure spending. And given the relative lack of success that austerity has brought the British, one can appreciate that argument.