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Cameron says budget deal shows EU reform is possible

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Friday's deal to agree the EU's next seven-year budget as a sign that European Union reform was posible.

"It is good that we have a deal," said Cameron, who led a push to trim EU spending.

The deal hammered out in more than 24 hours of talks that lasted through the night "shows that working with allies it is possible to take real steps towards reform in the European Union."

Saying the agreement to trim EU spending from 2014 to 2020 in line with Europe-wide austerity cuts was also "a good deal for British taxpayers", Cameron said the seven-year prescription was a "more modern and effective set of budgets than the ones that preceded it."

"This is 80 billion lower than what was originally proposed," he added, saying it would encourage investment, help new member states in the EU, reduce farm payments.

Cameron had vowed to accept nothing less than a freeze or a cut in EU spending and he said at a news conference that he had achieved his goal.

The prime minister had laid his cards on the table as soon as he arrived at the summit on Thursday, but critics had warned he had left himself with few allies following his pledge last month to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

The prime minister's determination to slash the budget was driven as much by domestic financial concerns -- Britain is teetering on the edge of a triple-dip recession -- as by the need to address public disquiet over the country's future in the EU.

Cameron's stance had put him on a collision course with countries such as France who wanted EU investment to boost growth and tackle unemployment.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130208/cameron-says-budget-deal-shows-eu-reform-possible