David Cameron and the EU budget meeting

The first leader to threaten a veto. The first in Brussels this morning to meet the man who has to try to forge a budget compromise.

David Cameron wants Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, to be in no doubt that unless the EU budget is frozen in real terms and Britain's rebate is maintained there will be no deal at this summit.

A freeze may sound clear enough but there are three different measures of EU spending - commitments, plans and the actual numbers. There are different baselines too so plenty of room for negotiation.

What is more, even if the prime minister secures both his objectives British taxpayers are likely to end up paying more than they are now.

Both men know that the last time David Cameron refused to sign an EU deal his poll ratings soared.

They know that other leaders are under equal and opposite political pressure to secure budget rises or rebates for their country.

Officials are ready for a summit that drags into the weekend or one that breaks up much earlier if a deal proves impossible.