EU BUDGET commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite this week endorsed the future EU spending plans drawn up by her predecessor Michaele Schreyer, insisting that “more Europe is not possible with less money”.

In an EU parliamentary debate on the new financial perspectives for 2007 to 2013, Mrs Grybauskaite said that, contrary to press speculation, there were no differences between the positions of the old and the new commission.

Under proposals tabled last July, the commission is seeking a 30% rise in total EU funding to €158bn (£110bn) by 2013 to help accommodate the new member states. Of this total, €55bn (£38bn) is earmarked for agriculture, including €13bn (£9bn) for rural development.

Mrs Grybauskaite said this level of expenditure, which equates to 1.14% of gross national income, was necessary to meet the objectives of boosting competitiveness, enriching poorer regions, preserving natural resources, developing freedom, security and justice and making the EU a stronger global player.

“The EU needs to match its political ambition with sufficient resources,” she said, taking a swipe at the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria, which have all called for a reduction in spending to just 1% of gross national income.

Her comments echoed those of commission president Jos Manuel Barrosa, who last week dismissed the 1% demand of the EU”s net contributors, saying it could jeopardise existing commitments on direct supports for agriculture. “A deal was reached on agricultural spending until 2013,” he said. “We cannot suddenly decide to put this in the rubbish bin.”

The commission has called on member states and the parliament to reach a political agreement on the new financial perspectives by the end of June.