European Council

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): But will the Prime Minister confirm that the entire EU budget accounts for just 1% of the gross national income of all 27 European member states? Should not his real priority be to end the disastrous policy of austerity that he and his fellow leaders are imposing right across Europe, and instead kick-start growth and investment to bring hope and prosperity instead of despair and stagnation?

The Prime Minister: I am afraid it is this attitude—a little bit of billions here and a little bit of billions there does not really matter very much—that has got us into so much trouble. Yes, it is 1%, for the first time, of Europe’s GNI, but the fact is that it is many billions of pounds that we pay into the European Union, and it is very important that we keep the budget under control.