I have discussed with Prime Minister Blair the UK Presidency proposal on the Financial Perspectives he is presenting today.

As I have told the Presidency, this is my first reaction:

As it is, the UK Presidency proposal is unacceptable. It is simply not realistic. This proposal amounts to a budget for a “Mini Europe”, not the strong Europe that we need.

Our ambition is an open, modern and enlarged Europe. For this to happen, the Union must have the means to deliver on the policies agreed between the Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission.

This is not possible under this proposal for two main reasons: On the one hand, the level of investment it foresees is insufficient. On the other, it has not yet struck the right balance between the Member States. In particular, the proposal needs to become fairer for new Member States.

I have been engaged in intensive talks with all the partners, and I will continue these talks over the next days.

Ref: SPEECH/05/761