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EU budget: Following talks, leaders agree to hold more talks

EU leaders agreed to hold further discussions on agreeing a budget for the next seven years as well as plugging a shortfall in this year’s finances following negotiations, chaired by Ireland, in Brussels.

We got this: Barroso with Schulz and Kenny in Brussels yesterday
We got this: Barroso with Schulz and Kenny in Brussels yesterday
Image: Yves Logghe/AP/Press Association Images

EU LEADERS HAVE agreed to hold further talks on producing a budget for the next seven years and plug a shortfall in this year’s budget following discussions chaired by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste in Brussels yesterday.

As part of the Ireland’s EU presidency, Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore held what was described as a “productive meeting” on the s0-called multi-annual financial framework (MFF) with European Parliament president Martin Schulz and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

“They agreed on the vital importance of reaching agreement on the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020,” a statement said, referring to the seven year budget for the EU which has been the subject of much debate and dispute in recent months.

Leaders agreed to the ‘bottom lines’ of the €960 billion budget in February following lengthy discussions where there had been much disagreement about how much the EU should spend with countries like Britain looking for, and ultimately succeeding in, ensuring a budget reduction of €30 billion.

But the budget – which proposed the first ever fall in the EU’s spending – was rejected by MEPs in the European Parliament in March after they demanded that negotiations on the MFF be linked to the budget for this year, which is underfunded by €11 billion.

MEPs wanted a guarantee that the shortfall in this year’s budget will be filled before talks on the seven-year plan begin.

Leaders agreed that negotiations on both this year’s budget and the seven year MFF will “be taken forward in parallel”  with the statement adding: “The Irish Presidency’s aim remains to reach agreement on both during our Presidency of the Council of the EU.”

Negotiations on the MFF will continue with a “trilogue discussion” in Brussels next Monday.

Read: ‘Time to ease off on austerity and abandon planned tax hikes’ – IBEC

Read: Backlash against austerity means more countries using Irish model, says Gilmore

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Hugh O'Connell

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