EU leaders fail to agree on budget as talks collapse
Brussels, Belgium (4E) – The 27-nation European Union failed to arrive at an agreement for a planned seven-year budget as talks collapsed during their summit in Belgium.
As rich and poor members of the EU clashed in Brussels, European leaders now face a difficult task over the next three months to iron out the union’s budget for 2014-2020.
European Council chief Herman Van Rompuy conceded that the talks have failed after a group of rich EU nations led by the UK and Germany nixed the budget plan worth 971bn euros.
Despite the turn of events, Van Rompuy was still confident that an agreement would be reached by early 2013.
Talks on the EU budget crumbled as British Prime Minister David Cameron strongly opposed a “deal at any cost” and said that Brussels was “living in a parallel universe.”
The Prime Minister won an important ally in Germany in his disagreement with France regarding spending cuts. The UK is pushing for a freeze of EU spending at current levels.
Cameron placed the blame for the breakdown of the talks to the European Commission and blasted it refusing to accept budget cuts or reduce the compensation for its staff.
Leaders from other member states including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt also said that the proposed budget was too big.