British Deputy PM Clegg says Europe still recovering from 'economic cardiac arrest'

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said in Paris on Wednesday (November 14) that the European continent is still recovering from an economic ‘cardiac arrest’ and politicians must keep in mind the political and economic context of the EU when deciding the European budget at next week’s summit.

Clegg lunched with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the Hotel Matignon and the two discussed their positions on the European budget, the euro zone crisis and youth unemployment in anticipation for the EU summit next week.

Clegg stressed that politicians deciding the European budget must keep in mind the sense of anxiety that has lingered in many European countries since the 2008 economic crisis.

“People are now very, very sensitive — quite rightly — for how public money is spent, where it’s spent, by whom and for what purpose,” Clegg said. “And that’s why our analysis is we can’t treat this multi-annual financial framework as if nothing has happened. We’ve had a major cardiac arrest in our economy back in 2008, from which we’re still recovering as a continent. Our economies are still vulnerable, are still fragile. And in those circumstances, we think we need to be very very disciplined about the level of increase in the European Union budget.”

The British politician echoed the sentiments Prime Minister David Cameron expressed earlier this week — that the budget should not increase past inflation and that a compromise should be reached.

Budget talks will resume at an EU Summit on November 22-23, where leaders will try to agree on a plan for the bloc’s next long-term budget, from 2014-2020, worth roughly 1 trillion euros ($1.27 trillion).

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