DAVID Cameron looks set to make a last-gasp bid to get the EU budget frozen with a whistle-stop tour of European capitals following his failed attempt to agree a deal earlier this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
While the Prime Minister can do little about the hike planned for next year because this is agreed by qualified majority voting, he has threatened to veto the "ludicrous" proposed £80 billion increase in the EU budget for 2014 to 2020 when leaders meet for a special summit in Brussels on November 22.
Mr Cameron's spokesman made clear the PM would use the next two weeks to hold bilateral talks with fellow EU leaders to persuade them that, in such straitened times, the EU budget at best should be cut and at worst frozen.
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Yet his work looks cut out. At present, only seven of the other 26 member states support Mr Cameron's position. Mrs Merkel, who would also like to see a spending cut, nonetheless feels a rise is inevitable.
Asked if this could mean the Prime Minister travelling to other member states, the spokesman replied: "It's possible," adding there would be an update later.
Yesterday in Brussels, officials went on strike in protest at the demand by Mr Cameron and other EU leaders for cuts to the EU budget. More than 4000 eurocrats, one-sixth of its administrative staff, earn more than £80,000 a year.