During the European Council on 28 October, Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parlia-ment, hoped to sway the argument by saying that a cut in the 2011 EU budget would be “anti-European”. In the Parliament, the label ‘anti-European' is used to stifle criticism. That is harder in the real world.
Buzek's statement was thrown back in his face. Government leaders such as Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Mark Rutte are cutting their national budgets. As Merkel asked, are they anti-German, anti-British, anti-Dutch?
The battle for the 2011 budget is just a prelude to the battle for the multi-annual budget framework (possibly) covering the period 2014-20. The battlelines about how the EU should be financed are similar.