Hungary's prime minister said Tuesday that a plan by British Prime Minister Tony Blair aimed at cutting the European Union's 2007-2013 budget was "unacceptable." Britain currently holds the rotating EU presidency and Blair will hold talks Friday in Budapest on the EU budget with the prime ministers of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. "What Prime Minister Blair is proposing now is unacceptable," Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said in an interview on Hungary's state television, adding that the current British plan likely would be rejected by most of the 10 countries that joined the EU last year.
The new members are against any cuts to the EU's structural and cohesion funds, the economic aid earmarked for the bloc's poorer countries.
Gyurcsany said preliminary talks on the EU budget had been held last week in Budapest, but that the British proposal was "so distant from Hungary's interests that the answer is 'no."'
Hungary's prime minister said that although the EU budget spat was due to the inability of Britain and France to work out their differences on agricultural funding, the easiest solution to achieve reforms was to "ram them down the throats of the new EU members." Gyurcsany also said that for the new EU countries, Austria's six-month term at the head of the EU from Jan. 1 could be better suited for working out a budget deal and that it was not necessary to have an agreement on the budget at any price by the end of this year, 12 months before the new six-year budget is due to take effect, reports the AP. I.L.