To hear Tory MPs yesterday (and reading Tory commentators today) it seems that David Cameron achieved a triumph in the EU budget matched only by Wellington at Waterloo.
And, of course, Frau Merkel’s parsimony (and the prospect of a tight Bundestag election later this year) had nothing to do with it.
The achievement was all Dave’s.
Except for one small detail: the EU spend (and therefore the UK’s contribution) is likely to increase.
What was agreed was a cap: the ceiling of possible EU expenditure over 2014 to 2020. As a matter of course, the expenditure is usually considerably less than the cap — a matter of, perhaps, 10% less. What has happened is the cap has been set lower, but not any commitment to spend. So the expenditure can rise closer to the nominal cap.
As a result the ceiling has been set at €908.4 billion — were expenditure by 2020 to reach that cap, the UK would be paying an extra 6.3%.