Negotiations about how much money members of the EU should contribute to the budget over the next five years restart today, and MM took to the streets to find out if Manchester agrees with increasing UK funding.
The EU Commission has called for an increase of 4.8% on its 2007-2013 budget but some members, including the UK, think it should be cut to match domestic austerity measures.
The UK and several other countries, including the Netherlands and Sweden, have called for a real terms freeze in the EU budget and David Cameron has threatened to use his veto if the other countries call for a rise in spending.
If no agreement is reached by the end of 2012 the budget will be rolled over with an increase of 2% along inflation lines.
Several EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have indicated that an agreement may be unlikely today and it is clear that there is a massive divide of opinion on this issue throughout Europe.
MM went out into Manchester to ask people if the UK gives too much money to the EU?
Laura Scott, banker, said: “Our country should come first; we should spend money here where it’s needed.”
Roger Shore, space planner, said: “I just think what I read in the papers really, I don’t take much of an interest in it.”
Mark Brown, retail assistant, said: “I love the EU, if we stop giving money to it then it might collapse and that’d be an end to cheap package holidays, nobody ever thinks about that.”
Anonymous, said: “I am defiantly against it because it’s a waste. They have had 18 years to sort it out and yet £5billion goes missing each year.”
Chris Cliffton, factory worker, said: “We should put people in this country first.”
Anonymous, said: “Too much is spent on large salaries for fat cats, like Neil Kinnock, even his wife gets paid and all she does it lie on her back.”
Mike Unsworth, unemployed, said: “I just think what I read in the papers really, my stepdad tells me all about it and he’s against it so I agree with him.”
Edward Nikwigzi, 28, said: “They are cutting the budget in England so they should the budget for the EU should not increase, it should come down.”
James Murphy-Sykes, 28, said: “We shouldn’t even be in the EU. The EU just wastes money on things that we don’t even need, they should give the money to people here.
Mick Hall, 22, said: “We should spend money in our country where it’s needed.”
Douglas Pollard, demolition supervisor, said: “Spend money in this country first. Politicians spend too much time giving money away rather than helping people at home.”