EU ‘will run out of cash in months’: Member states asked for £3.5billion to stay afloat… and Britain is told to hand over £450million

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Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski insists huge amount is needed to keep Europe afloat
He said: ‘We need additional funds to meet our legal obligations.’
Tories urge Prime Minister David Cameron to refuse to pay up
Request for more cash comes six months after EU was granted £6.4 billion

By Jason Groves, Chief Political Correspondent

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The European Union last night demanded a £3.5 billion bailout from national governments, amid warnings it will run out of cash within months.

In a blunt admission the EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said: ‘We need additional funds to meet our legal obligations.’

Britain’s share will be about £450 million.

European Union Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said $3.5 billion is needed to keep governments afloat – including a £450 million pay out from Britain

The demand comes just six months after the EU was granted an extra £6.4 billion to keep it afloat.

The extra cash will take the total EU budget to £126 billion – an 8.4 per cent increase on the previous year.

Tory MPs last night urged David Cameron to refuse to pay up.

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Former Tory Cabinet minister John Redwood said Brussels should cut its spending rather than expect cash-strapped national governments to bail it out again.

He said the demand for more money made a mockery of claims that EU leaders had agreed a ‘tough’ budget deal.

‘It is outrageous that they dare to do this,’ he said. ‘They are very fond of ordering member states like Greece to make cuts – let them now make the cuts they should have made themselves.

‘Time and again in the past few years I have warned that the voted EU budgets are well below the legitimate claims of EU beneficiaries,’ he said. ‘We see the result today. Estimates of upcoming claims validated by member states

themselves clearly show that we need additional funds to meet our legal obligations towards beneficiaries of EU funds.’

Mr Lewandowski said failure to agree the extra £3.5 billion this year would jeopardise a deal to cut the EU’s long-term budget.

He said: ‘We owe it to the crisis-stricken Europe and hundreds of thousands of EU beneficiaries to finally adopt and implement the (long-term budget) as it constitutes an essential source of investment in EU countries. I trust that both member states and the European Parliament will swiftly adopt it.’ But Tory MEP Marta Andreasen said infrastructure projects and other so-called ‘cohesion policy’ had been singled out by auditors as being an easy target for fraud.

Miss Andreasen, once the European Commission’s chief accountant, said: ‘The EU institutions throw taxpayers’ cash around like confetti.

Meanwhile, official figures yesterday underlined the status of English as the EU’s lingua franca. A study by the EU’s statistics body Eurostat found that 94 per cent of secondary school children across Europe now learn English. The second most popular language is French, which is studied by just 23 per cent of European pupils.

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