EUROPEAN UNION LEADERS are meeting for a second day of talks on the bloc’s budget for the next seven years having failed to reach any accord last night.
Amid disagreements over the level of spending that should be committed to until 2020 there are now fears that no deal will be reached when talks resume at 11am this morning in Brussels.
German chancellor Angela Merkel said last night that she had doubts as to whether a deal could be reached at all following talks.
“I think we’re advancing a bit, but I doubt that we will reach a deal,” Mrs Merkel said according to BBC News.
The president of European Council Herman van Rompuy distributed his proposal for a budget, officially known as the 2014-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), yesterday.
He then spent much of the day locked in talks with individual leaders in a bid to get them all on the same side.
At issue is the amount that the EU will spend over the next seven years, somewhere in the region of over €900 billion with countries like Britain looking for a cut or at the very least freeze in the budget.
Meanwhile there are other countries such as those in Eastern Europe which advocate a budget increase to ensure infrastructure and long-term spending projects are not at risk.
For France and Ireland a key issue is spending on agriculture – which accounts for 37.5 per cent of the total budget – and maintaining that.
A failure to agree a budget would mean rolling over next year’s budget into 2014 on a month-by-month basis with an adjustment of 2 per cent for inflation but EU infrastructure projects would be at risk.
Ironically this could also mean that the budget would actually be higher than what countries like Britain say they will accept now.